Photo: Nathan Shurr / Unsplash

Nearly one year after condo sales sunk at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, new data shows that buyers have been returning to downtown Vancouver’s high-rise market.

According to recent research and reporting by The Georgia Straight, 105 condo properties were sold in Downtown Vancouver West — a major part of the city’s core — during February 2021. Although this region does not include other central areas like Coal Harbour, Yaletown and the West End, the 105 condo sales represent the largest volume in the past year within the downtown community, the Straight explained.

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Using information sourced from Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) and Zealty.ca, an online Vancouver property database, the Straight noted that the 105 unit sales in February represent a 52.2 percent month-to-month increase from January 2021. Twenty-nine of those 105 sales were reportedly sold at or above asking price.

Overall, prices in the area did not show a significant change when compared to the previous month, with the median condo price in Downtown Vancouver West dipping by a negligible 0.1 percent monthly to $699,000 in February 2021. The condo price per square foot has also made progress since the April 2020 slowdown, having risen from $1,030 that month to $1,247 in February, according to the article.

The Straight reports that condo sales in Downtown Vancouver fell to 29 units in April 2020, when the global pandemic tanked the local condo market. At that time, the median price of a condo hit its lowest point at $680,000. Sales slowly recovered throughout 2020 and the area recorded 82 unit sales by December.

Like other major cities across the country, Vancouver’s condo market slowdown has been attributed to buyers favouring larger single-family homes, resulting in significant sales activity in suburban communities. The urban exodus, which sees city dwellers move outward to smaller communities, has been referenced in market commentary since the beginning of the pandemic. In its reporting, the Straight mentions that, “while many are still willing to drive out to the suburbs in search of homes, purchasers seem to be enamoured again by the charms of downtown living.”

In its latest market report, REBGV said there were 1,759 condo sales in February across Metro Vancouver, a 65.8 percent increase from the same period a year ago. Price wise, Vancouver apartments experienced a mild increase, climbing 2.5 percent from both February 2020 and January 2021 to $697,500.

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