lower mainland home sales Photo: Ahmed Bukhamsin/Flickr

Home sales in the Lower Mainland soared past the 4,000 transactions mark in January. It was a record-breaking performance for the market, exceeding the previous January high by more than 200 transactions.

The 4,061 units sold last month represented a 62 percent increase over January 2020 and was 53 percent higher than the 10-year average for the month.

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Central 1 Credit Union Deputy Chief Economist Bryan Yu described January activity as a “stampede of property buyers [that] ran head first into 2021.”

In a research note, the economist wrote that the market remained “red hot” thanks to mortgage rates that are hovering around record lows and the ongoing shift in buyer preferences away from urban rentals and toward homeownership.

“Work-from-home options continue to promote demand for detached homes and families are looking outside the urban core areas and the confines of apartment living,” wrote Yu.

On the pricing side, the average home sale price for the Lower Mainland was up 15 percent from a year ago to $1,030,000. The strong seller’s market driven by high demand and relatively low inventory has made bidding wars more common and pushed prices higher.

While Yu writes that sales are likely to return to a normal rate as the year progresses, the re-opening of Canada’s borders and the resumption of immigration will support housing demand into 2022 as the pandemic’s effects ebb.

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