vancouver-housing-market-sales-record Photo: James Bombales

By mid-way through March it was already clear that it was going to be a remarkable month for Vancouver region home sales.

At mid-month, Dexter Realty’s Kevin Skipworth wrote that the market was on track to shatter the sales total achieved in March 2016, the all-time high for the region.

Now, according to data published by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, we can see that the market shot past this total by a mile.

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There were a record 5,703 transactions in March, the highest monthly sales figure ever for the region. Last month’s total was 126 percent higher than March 2020, though it bears mentioning that the second half of that month was impacted significantly by the first wave of COVID-19 infections and lockdowns.

That said, March’s transaction total was also 53 percent higher than February’s and more than 72 percent above the 10-year sales average for March.

Even as COVID-19 infections are surging once more across the province, it has done little to diminish the appetite of home buyers and sellers who are moving at a frantic pace, part of a countrywide phenomenon that has economists concerned about an overheated market.

“In March, residents bought and listed homes across our region at levels not seen before. This surge in activity is increasing upward pressure on prices. We’re beginning to see double-digit price gains for single-family homes and townhomes over the last 12 months,” said REBGV Chair Taylor Biggar in a media release.

REBGV said that homebuyer demand was highest in the region’s rural and suburban areas, with some seeing annual sales increases nearing the 200 percent mark.

New listings were up by 87 percent annually across the region in March. The 8,287 new listings that hit the market last month also represented a noteworthy 64 percent rise over February.

The influx wasn’t enough to satisfy the appetite of Vancouver’s homebuyers.

“While we did see a record number of listings enter the market last month, the demand in today’s market isn’t allowing that new supply to accumulate. As a result, the overall inventory of homes for sale decreased compared to last year,” said Biggar.

The extraordinary levels of demand pushed prices up across all property types, with detached homes and townhomes seeing the most pronounced increases.

The benchmark price for detached homes rose 17.9 percent annually to $1,700,200, while townhomes increased 10.4 percent to $872,200.

Condos posted a 3.7 percent annual price increase, with the benchmark now sitting at $715,800.

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