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British Columbia’s Fraser Valley saw its busiest year ever during 2021, shattering home sales records as buyers flocked to the region.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) processed a total of 27,692 property sales, up 39 per cent from 2020’s mark (19,926) and 15.5 per cent higher than its previous record set during 2016 (23,974).

Despite a seasonal slowdown, last month produced the Fraser Valley’s second-highest December sales total on record with 1,808 transactions, falling short of the mark set in December 2020 (2,086).

“No one could have predicted how the pandemic would impact the real estate market,” said Larry Anderson, FVREB president. “Our region’s relative affordability, combined with a newfound ability to work from home and the value for housing dollar in the Fraser Valley attracted buyers in numbers like we’ve never seen.”

Listing activity also approached record numbers with 35,629 new listings during 2021, falling just shy of the all-time high set in 2008 (35,651). Overall, listings increased 12.4 per cent from 2020.

While the Fraser Valley saw 1,278 new listings in December, the surge of sales activity has soaked up supply. Active inventory sat at 1,957 units by the end of December, the region’s lowest mark in 41 years.

“Whether helping sellers list or helping buyers complete a sale, our board averaged over 5,200 transactions every month,” Anderson said. “And even though our volume of new listings was also high, it just couldn’t keep up with the demand.”

Motivated by historically low interest rates, buyers sent sales totals soaring across each property type during the calendar year.

Detached home sales were up 31.8 per cent compared to 2020, while townhome sales increased by 33.7 per cent. Apartment transactions saw the biggest jump, increasing 68.9 per cent year-over-year.

“With the rapid escalation of prices in 2021, many buyers made decisions based on economic factors, resulting in an explosion of condo sales in our region,” Anderson said.

Prices crept higher as the year progressed. The benchmark price for a single-family detached home in the Fraser Valley was $1,500,000 by the end of December, up 3.6 per cent from November and representing a 39 per cent increase year-over-year.

Townhome and apartment benchmarks both increased 3.5 per cent month-over-month, reaching $765,800 and $549,200, respectively. Townhome prices were up 32.9 from the previous year, while apartments increased 25.3 per cent.

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