Vancouver homebuyers capped off an unprecedented year by going gangbusters in the final month of 2020, breaking the December record for home sales by a significant margin.
In recent economic commentary, Central 1 Credit Union said that the region spanning Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford-Mission recorded 5,124 sales last month, up 61 percent from December 2019 and 18 percent from December 2015’s total, the previous record holder.
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The robust December figures took some analysts by surprise, as a loose consensus had emerged that the market was slowing.
As was the case throughout the second half of 2020, it was single-family homes that stole headlines in December as sales continued to surge on the back of buyer preferences shifting toward larger spaces and rock bottom mortgage rates that motivated purchasers to jump into the market.
But in 2021, a reopened border could give the Vancouver region condo market a shot in the arm after it spent the previous year lagging behind its low-rise counterparts.
Central 1 Deputy Chief Economist Bryan Yu acknowledged that condo prices remained flat in December and rose just over three percent when pitted against the previous year. Meantime, detached homes were up 1.3 percent over November and 11.6 percent compared to December 2019.
The condo market is more sensitive to the border closure, with a lack of international students and severely depressed immigration numbers playing a bigger role in sales activity in that segment.
If international students return in significant numbers in 2021 and immigration rebounds, as many expect it will, the region’s condo market will be a major beneficiary.
Analyzing the December sales figures, Dexter Realty’s Kevin Skipworth said the increase in active listings in the downtown market already started to move the needle in pushing condo sales activity higher. Condo sales were up 7.5 percent in December compared to the previous month, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
“We will see more activity in the [condo] apartment market as 2021 continues and vaccines become more and more available. As activity in business and events come back so too will the desire to live close to the action,” Skipworth said.