“With low interest rates, increased household savings, more flexible work arrangements, and higher home prices than ever before, Metro Vancouverites, in record numbers, are assessing their housing needs and options.”Keith Stewart
Real estate boomed last year
By Mo Hussain, Contributor
A recent report shows that more Metro Vancouver homes were sold in 2021 than in any other year in history. On January 5, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) released their final monthly report for 2021, showing that 43,999 residential properties were sold through last year. The previous record for Metro Vancouver home sales was in 2015, with 42,326 homes sold.
Keith Stewart, an economist for REBGV, explained the unprecedented surge in home purchases, saying: “Home has been a focus for residents throughout the pandemic. With low-interest rates, increased household savings, more flexible work arrangements, and higher home prices than ever before, Metro Vancouverites, in record numbers, are assessing their housing needs and options.”
In their report, REBGV also highlighted a statistic from a Multiple Listing Service (MLS)—an information gathering and dissemination tool used by real estate brokers—showing an average price of $1,230,200 for residential properties in the region. The areas which saw the largest increase in home prices were:
- Maple Ridge: 34.7 percent increase
- Pitt Meadows: 29.8 percent increase
- Whistler: 27.8 percent increase
Additionally, the months which saw the most home sales last year ended up being in the first half of the year.
- March: 5703
- April: 4903
- May: 4268
- June: 3762
- February: 3727
However, 2021’s record-breaking home sales are unlikely to continue into 2022; the report also showed that there is now a record-low number of homes listed on the market. “We begin 2022 with just over 5,000 homes for sale across the region. This is the lowest level we’ve seen in more than 30 years,” Stewart said. “With demand at record levels, residents shouldn’t expect home price growth to relent until there’s a more adequate supply of housing available to purchase.”
The predicament of low houses available for sale is not limited to Metro Vancouver. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) also released a report explaining the wider issue facing the province. BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson commented on the effects that last year’s record-breaking figure has had thus far: “Last year was a record year for BC homes sales with seven market areas setting new highs… Listings activity could not keep up with demand throughout the year. As a result, we start 2022 with the lowest level of active listings on record.”
The BCREA report highlighted a statistic from MLS which showed residential home sales in December were down 17.6 percent from the year before.
That being said, It is still too early to tell what the trajectory of the ever-changing housing market in the province will look like for the rest of the year. However, with interest rates expected to rise and not as many houses currently on the market, it will be interesting to see how everything unfolds.