Last month life as we knew it, ground to a halt because of COVID-19, and so did Metro Vancouver’s real estate market. This was reflected in The April 2020 market report released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
“Predictably, the number of home sales and listings declined in April given the physical distancing measures in place. People are, however, adapting. They’re working with their realtors to get information, advice, and to explore their options so they’re best positioned in the market during and after this pandemic,” said Colette Gerber, REBGV president-elect.
She added, “We’re seeing more innovation in today’s market, with realtors using different technology to showcase homes virtually, assess neighborhood amenities with their clients and handle paperwork electronically.”
April 2020 sales were 62.7% below the 10 year April average and were the lowest total for the month since 1982.
There were 1,109 residential property sales. This represented a 39.4% decrease from the 1,829 sales in April 2019 and a decrease of 56.1% from March 2020 when 2,524 homes were sold.
The number of detached properties sold was 388, 33.8% less than April 2019.
The number of apartments sold was 503, 43.2% less than April 2019.
The number of attached properties sold was 218, 39.1% less than April 2019.
April saw a plunge in new home listings. There were only 2,313 newly listed properties for sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in Metro Vancouver. This was 59.7% lower than the 5,742 new homes listed in April 2019, and a 47.9% decrease when compared to March 2020 when 4,436 homes were listed.
The total number of homes listed for sale in April decreased to 9,389 – a figure well below the inventory of April 2019 when 14,357 homes were listed and a 2.3% decrease compared to the 9,606 homes listed in March 2020.
This is a good indication of the supply and demand forces in the market. Downward pressure on home prices can occur when the ratio is below 12% for a sustained period, and there is upward pressure when the ratio is above 20% for a number of months.
For all property types, the ratio in April was 11.8%. When broken down by property types, the ratio was:
- 10% for detached homes
- 14.7% for townhomes
- 12.4% for condos
The MLS Home Price index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $1,036,000 in April. This was 2.5% higher than April 2019 and 0.2% higher than March 2020. Despite ongoing concerns about the economy and millions of Canadians out of work, the average price of a home in Vancouver went up.
Paul Kershaw, UBC professor and founder of Generation Squeeze, says the rising prices, as sales fall is worrisome.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, our entire economy has been upended, our housing system has been hit with a massive shock, and no one knows where all of this will go,” he said.
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