vancouver_housing_market Photo: Kyle Ryan / Unsplash

Despite the tighter measures put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Vancouver home buyers scooped up a record number of properties during what’s typically a quiet period for housing activity in December.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver today announced that 3,093 homes sold across the Vancouver region last month, a 53.4 percent increase over the same period in 2019 and a record for the month of December. Sales even slightly outperformed November 2020’s total even with December’s long stretch of holidays.

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“Robust December sales outpaced long-term averages in what’s traditionally the quietest month of the year in real estate. This was part of an unusual seasonal pattern the market followed last year, which can be attributed in large part to the pandemic,” said REBGV President Colette Gerber.

With the book now closed on 2020, REBGV also reported that total home sales for the year, 30,944, were over 20 percent higher than totals achieved in 2019 and 2018 and only slightly below the 10-year average.

It’s an impressive feat considering how few homes were sold during the early months of the pandemic.

“When the pandemic began in March, the housing market came to a near standstill. We knew, however, that shelter needs don’t go away in times of crisis, they intensify,” said Gerber.

She went on to applaud real estate professionals’ work with public health and other regulatory bodies to ensure precautions and protocols were swiftly implemented so buyers and sellers could continue to transact safely through the pandemic.

Gerber noted that changing homebuyer preferences and low interest rates drove demand in 2020, but looking ahead, it will be the supply of homes on the market that will shape activity and price trends for 2021.

Home prices continued their steady upward climb across all property types in the final month of 2020.

The benchmark price of a detached home was $1,554,600, up over 10 percent from a year earlier. Condo apartment prices rose 2.6 percent from a year ago to a benchmark of $676,500. Attached homes recorded a 4.9 percent benchmark price increase, rising to $813,900.

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