Vancouver homes sales jumped 45 per cent in February compared with last year, as low housing supply and growing demand offset concerns over the coronavirus.
Sales in the greater Vancouver area reached 2,150 last month, compared with 1,484 in February, 2019, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, marking the eighth straight month of double-digit year-over-year increases.
Last month’s sales were 37 per cent higher than in January, a sign that the market is continuing to rebound after a foreign-buyers tax and tougher borrowing rules slowed sales in 2018 and early 2019.
But a few realtors said some of their clients are worried about the spread of the coronavirus and questioned whether the Vancouver market would falter again as part of a broader economic slowdown.
“A lot of my investors are holding off because they think the market will slow down because of the coronavirus,” said Carmen Leal, a realtor with Macdonald Realty Ltd., who works with first-time home buyers and real estate investors in Vancouver.
Ashley Smith, the real estate board’s president, said: “We know anecdotally that people are staying home and not wanting to do open houses.”
But that sentiment has not yet crimped overall demand. “It’s not getting in the way of people who are serious,” about buying or selling, said Ms. Smith. “People will find ways.”
There was an uptick in new listings from January to February, but the total number of homes for sale in the Vancouver region was down 21 per cent compared with February, 2019, according to the board.
Sales across all types of housing increased year-over-year. Detached house sales rose 53 per cent to 448 properties; attached houses climbed 46 per cent to 404, and condo sales increased by 40 per cent to 1,061.
One sign that demand is outpacing supply is that home prices are increasing. Realtors say some houses and condos are drawing multiple offers and premiums.
The benchmark price, or the industry representation of a typical home sold, was $1,020,600 in February in the greater Vancouver area. That was a 0.3 per cent increase over last year, as price inflation among condos and townhouses offset a dip in detached houses.
Ms. Leal said properties that are priced competitively will get multiple offers, such as one-bedroom condos under $700,000 or a two-bedroom home under $1-million.
The benchmark price of a detached house fell 0.7 per cent to $1,433,900 compared with February last year; a townhouse rose 0.6 per cent to $785,000 and the value of a condo climbed 0.9 per cent to $677,200.
Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.