Real (Estate) Talk with Ryan Berlin - April 2021

The rennie review is produced each month by rennie intelligence, which includes the latest real estate data for Vancouver Region's housing market.

8,895 homes sales in March: a new record

As if it were necessary to begin by noting the record number of homes that transacted in the Vancouver Region in March 2021, with all of the reporting on this topic that has occurred in the first week of April, we hereby acknowledge last month’s incredible 8,895 sales. This new all-time monthly record for this region wasn’t just barely set, it trounced the previous high of 8,035 from March 2016 by 860, a margin of 11%.


Based on previous months’ data and anecdotes from the marketplace, it’s not much of a surprise that were more detached homes sold in March (3,527) than each of the other products (1,668 townhomes and 3,509 condos; note that the board-published sales data for home types does not sum to the grand total, as some properties that transacted are not included in the standard trifecta of home type definitions). 

What might catch some people by surprise, however, is that the detached sales total wasn’t an all-time record, as it was 9% below the record set back in March 2016. Instead, it was each of the townhome segment and the condo segment--yes, condos, the home type that some thought was dead following the advent of Covid-19--that set all-time records. 

Each of the board areas that the Vancouver Region comprises also experienced record sales counts in March, at 5,720 in Greater Vancouver (10% higher than the previous high) and 3,175 in the Fraser Valley (11% higher than the previous high). 

In the Fraser Valley, it was the condo segment of the market that was the driving force behind the record number of transactions, with the 811 sales being 19% higher than the previous high from June 2017; March 2021 detached and townhome sales were slightly below their respective all-time monthly highs. In Greater Vancouver, the 2,698 condo sales set a monthly record by a margin of 20%, while the 896 townhome transactions were an all-time high by a whopping 30% (the 1,973 detached sales were 8% below March 2016’s high).    

While inventory in the Vancouver Region has expanded by 9% between February and March 2021, it did so after contracting during the previous month (by 3%); in short, supply has not been keeping up with demand. Unsustainable price increases have been the predictable result, with tales of multiple offers in the dozens and sold prices exceeding list prices by hundreds of thousands of dollars being supported by market-wide aggregate price data. Leading the way have been detached home benchmark prices, up 21% on a year-over-year basis, followed by townhomes up 12% and condos up 4%. 

Notably, these rates of appreciation are far from the peaks seen in past years, with benchmark detached prices rising by 41% year-over-year in mid-2016, and townhomes rising by 22%, and condos by 31%, in mid-2018. Regardless, almost everyone would welcome more balance in our current market, though when that will be achieved remains to be determined.

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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