Photo: Sebastian Stephan Thiel/Flickr

The Vancouver housing market continued to recover in July, posting an impressive 22.3 percent increase in homes sold across the region compared to the same month a year ago.

The swift rebound from the pandemic-induced low point in April already had experts marvelling at the market’s resiliency. However, the fact that the 3,128 homes sold in July is nearly 10 percent higher than the 10-year average for the month makes it an even more incredible feat.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), which released the July data today, noted that sales were also up 28 percent from June, pointing to a further bounce back for a market that spent much of the last two years struggling to regain momentum.

“We’re seeing the results today of pent up activity, from both home buyers and sellers, that had been accumulating in our market throughout the year. Low interest rates and limited overall supply are also increasing competition across our market,” said REBGV President Colette Gerber.

The July sales result is doubly impressive considering how much the industry has had to adapt to new measures introduced to keep buyers and sellers safe during the pandemic.

“Safety remains the top priority for our REALTOR® community,” Gerber said. “We continue to limit in-person interactions with clients and employ different technology solutions to ensure home buyers and sellers can get as much information as possible in a virtual setting.”

Clearly, the safety measures and increased reliance on digital tools have done little to dampen homebuyer enthusiasm.

REBGV’s home price index increased 4.5 percent over the previous year in July, moving up to $1,031,400. The benchmark price of a detached home in the Vancouver region was $1,477,800, up 5 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, the benchmark price of a condo registered a 4.2 percent increase from July 2019, moving up to $682,500.

While the July numbers were undeniably encouraging, questions remain on the sustainability of the market rebound.

“After seeing real estate sales in July be the highest in three years, the questions have been bouncing around as to whether this is a short-term result or a market intent on continuing to produce through the rest of 2020,” wrote Vancouver broker and Dexter Realty Partner Kevin Skipworth in an email.

He acknowledged that COVID-19 will surely be a factor going forward, continuing to disrupt everyday life and threaten the economy for some time to come. But, Skipworth said, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Vancouver housing market’s upside.

“[I]nterest rates are the lowest they have ever been, pent up demand from over two years, not to mention the shut down in March and April, and a strong desire to find a different home have propelled the real estate market to where we are now,” he said.

“All these factors should not be underestimated in how the market will perform going forward,” Skipworth added.

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