Greater Vancouver’s real estate market had a record December — a month most buyers and sellers usually take off for the holiday season.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) says 3,093 homes were sold through realtors in December, which is a 53.4 per cent increase from 2,016 in December 2019.
“Robust December sales outpaced long-term averages in what’s traditionally the quietest month of the year in real estate,” said REBGV chair Colette Gerber, in a release.
“This was part of an unusual seasonal pattern the market followed last year, which can be attributed in large part to the pandemic.”
Detached homes led the way with 1,026 changing hands compared to 599 during the same month last year for a 71.3 per cent increase. The benchmark price for a detached home was up 10.2 per cent to $1,554,600.
Attached homes were next with 593 sold compared to 364 last year, for a 62.9 per cent increase, bringing the benchmark price up 4.9 per cent to $813,900.
Despite an urban exodus playing out since the pandemic forced people to work from home and out of the core, apartment sales went from 1,053 in December 2019 to 1,474 in December 2020 for a 40 per cent increase. The benchmark price was up 2.6 per cent to $676,500.
The benchmark price for all residential properties ends the year up 5.4 per cent and back above the million dollar mark to $1,047,400.
And despite the economic effects of COVID-19, 30,944 were sold in 2020 for a 22.1 per cent increase from 25,351 in 2019. It’s also a 25.7 per cent increase from the 24,619 homes sold in 2018.
“After adapting to the COVID-19 environment, local home buyer demand and seller supply returned at a steady pace throughout the summer, fall and winter seasons," Gerber said.
"Shifting housing needs and low interest rates were key drivers of this activity in 2020. Looking ahead, the supply of homes for sale will be a critical factor in determining home price trends in 2021.”
Adil Dinani, a Royal LePage agent who’s been working in the Vancouver market says the rally caught him by surprise.
“Vancouver’s tremendous market activity along with consecutive record breaking months has been both unexpected and unpredictable.” he said.
“Achieving these sale volumes in the midst of a pandemic is largely attributed to buyers and sellers getting crystal clear about what home truly means to them.”
Dinani says low interest rates will continue to be a tailwind in the months ahead.
Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.