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Vancouver homebuyers continue to defy the skeptics

Metro housing sales set another record level in October, despite dire predictions from big banks, analysts and government
Chung Chow/BIV files

October Metro Vancouver housing sales soared 29% from the same month a year earlier to the second-highest October sales level in history and prices jumped 6% year-over-year, defying consistent and credible predictions of a pandemic-induced collapse.

On October 29, analysts from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the biggest mortgage lender in the country, warned that a decline in immigration would “upend” Vancouver’s housing market.

The condominium market is especially exposed, the report cautioned.

“COVID-19 has severely disrupted the flow of immigrants moving to Canada — a major source of [Metro Vancouver] housing demand,” senior RBC economist Robert Hogue stated in his report.

A month earlier, Moody’s Analytics forecast a sharp downturn in Vancouver-area housing sales in the third quarter, forecasting that average home prices would plunge by 7% before a tepid recovery in 2021.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., the federal housing agency, has been predicting a downturn in the Metro Vancouver housing market since May. Its summer outlook doubled down, predicting the “[Metro Vancouver] resale market sales will contract and remain low for the balance of 2020 and begin to recover in 2021.”

Despite these predictions, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,687 in October 2020, a 29% increase from October 2019, and a 1.2% increase from September 2020. Last month’s sales were 34.7% above the 10-year October sales average and the second highest on record for the month.

The October composite benchmark price for homes in Metro Vancouver is currently $1.04 million, up 6% from a year earlier and a 0.4% higher than in September 2020.

“With demand on the rise, homes priced right for today’s market are, at times, garnering multiple offers," noted REBGV president Collette Gerber.

Sales of detached homes in October soared 42.3% compared to October 2019. The benchmark price for a detached house is now $1.52 million. This represents an 8.5% increase from October 2019 and a 1.1% increase compared to September 2020.

Townhouse sales in October totalled 782, a 45.9% increase compared to October 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $813,000, a 5.4% increase from October 2019 and a 0.4% increase compared to September 2020.

Sales of condominium apartments reached 1,570 in October, a 13.4% increase compared to October 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is up 4.4% from a year ago to $683,500, according to real estate board data.