Market Stats: July 2021
Meanwhile on Vancouver’s West Side – the epicenter of B.C. urbanity – the benchmark price of a detached house increased 2.2% in June from May, the highest increase in Greater Vancouver.
We don’t think this is surprising, or a short-term trend. September is expected to welcome in the fourth and final phase of B.C.’s post-pandemic reopening. This means international borders will open, all businesses will be back in action and thousands of workers will return to the office. The big city will look increasingly tempting as hockey games open to crowds, major concerts tune up and Vancouver’s restaurants, pubs and theatres are open for business.
Expect to see home sales and prices, not just in Vancouver but across the entire region, continue to increase. The reason is the undeniable law of supply of demand.
From 2010 to 2020, B.C.’s population increased by 737,206 while only 316,510 housing units were built. In 2020, just 39,000 housing units were completed in B.C., up just 3% from 2019.
Some catch-up is taking place. In the first five months of this year, Metro Vancouver new home registrations were up 69% compared to the same period in 2020. About 18,000 new non-rental homes were registered in Metro Vancouver so far this year.
Still, with resale home sales averaging more than 4,000 per month and 50% of new-multi-family strata projects selling out – a pace of around 2,800 per month – supply is barely keeping pace with demand. In fact, the number of active listings in June were down 1% from a month earlier and new listings down 18% compared to May.
The revised mortgage “stress test” rules came into place June 1, but with multiple offers still significantly occurring below $1 million, the effects of this change don’t seem to have had much effect. Demand is strong at the lower price levels and the continued lack of homes available for sale will continue to create an extremely competitive landscape.
And remember, you only have to qualify for the stress test 5.25% mortgage rate, not pay it.
Right now, it is possible to secure a five-year variable mortgage at 0.99%, perhaps the lowest rate in Canadian history. While this summer is likely to lead to less activity in the real estate market, it will provide opportunity. Sellers should consider listing during this time as there will be less new listings compared to the last four months, and buyers that are looking will likely be serious. With the Real Estate Council of BC and the Superintendent of Real Estate consenting to open houses and in-person showings again, access to homes will be also much easier.