Real (Estate) Talk with Ryan Berlin - October 2020
The rennie review is produced each month by rennie intelligence, which includes the latest real estate data for Vancouver Region's housing market.

Home sales hit an all-time September high

Most of the attention given to the September housing market statistics for the Vancouver Region will, rightfully so, focus on the sheer number of transactions that took place. Indeed, the 5,759 sales tallied last month across the combined Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley board areas were the most ever for a September (5% higher than in 1992), were up 59% versus September 2019, and were 61% higher than the past-decade average for the month. 

A less heralded observation from recent months is the existence of what appears to be a sort of “Covid-effect” within the region’s housing market. Specifically, while condos accounted for 42% of all sales during the 12 months before the pandemic took hold in April, only 37% of sales since then have been in this format, with buyers increasingly looking for larger homes with more outdoor space.

As real a trend as this may be, the condo market has nonetheless been very active: the 2,080 condo sales in September were the most in any month since October 2017, were up 36% year-over-year, and were 53% higher than the past 10-year average. As Oscar Wilde might have said were he a current-day housing analyst, the death of the condo market has been greatly exaggerated.

Turning back to the bigger sales picture, September’s total sales count was only 2% below the all-time high for the Greater Vancouver board area (also achieved in 1992) and in the Fraser Valley was 20% higher than next most-active September--again in 1992. (What was up with September 1992, you ask? Well, Canada was emerging from a two-year recession, aided by the Bank of Canada having lowered its policy interest rate from 13.8% in May 1990 to 4.86% in August 1992--at that time the lowest rate since the early-1970s. In a nutshell, that provided a real boost to the housing market.)

Inventory has continued to expand at a steady, but slowing, pace, resulting in year-over-year median price increases (of 11% in the Greater Vancouver board area and 17% in the Fraser Valley board area) that have not been seen since early-2018.  

Continued low interest rates and the ongoing job recovery (uncertain as its trajectory may be) have created fertile ground for continued housing market activity. Add to this the fact that only 3,180 of the 11,001 unrealized sales (i.e. pent-up demand) from January through June have been realized in the past three months, and it is conceivable that sales counts in 2020’s remaining months could give September a run for its money.

Our rennie intelligence team comprises our in-house demographer, senior economist, and market analysts. Together, they empower individuals, organizations, and institutions with data-driven market insight and analysis. Experts in urban land economics, community planning, shifting demographics, and real estate trends, their strategic research supports a comprehensive advisory service offering and forms the basis of frequent reports and public presentations. Their thoughtful and objective approach truly embodies the core values of rennie.

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