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Vancouver home prices and sales continued to rise in August

·2 min read
A real estate for sale sign is pictured in front of a home in Vancouver, British Columbia

Metro Vancouver’s typically busy spring market continues to spill into late summer, with buyers and sellers jumping into the market in August.

COVID-19 kept them on the sidelines towards the end of March and into April, but activity started picking up by May and hasn’t looked back since.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) says 3,047 homes were sold in August, a 36.6 per cent increase from the 2,231 sales recorded during the same month last year. Sales were also 19.9 per cent above the 10-year August sales average.

“People who put their home buying and selling plans on hold in the spring have been returning to the market throughout the summer,” said REBGV Chair Colette Gerber, in a release.

“Like everything else in our lives these days, the uncertainty COVID-19 presents makes it challenging to predict what will happen this fall.”

August sales were down 2.6 per cent compared to the 3,128 homes that changed hands in July, which was also an unusually strong month.

Thomas Davidoff, an associate professor at UBC's Sauder School of Business, says he’s surprised by resilience during the pandemic.

“My best guess is two fundamentals are behind the strength: low interest rates and demand for more space caused by the pandemic mechanics and work from home,” he told Yahoo Finance Canada.

New listings jumped from 3,747 in August 2019 to 5,813 for a 55 per cent increase and 34.8 per cent above the 10-year average.

The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all types of homes in Metro Vancouver is $1,038,700, 5.3 per cent higher than August 2019 and a 0.7 per cent higher than July 2020.

Detached homes led the way in year-over-year price growth (6.6 per cent) and sales (55.1 per cent).

Steve Saretsky, realtor at Oakwyn Realty, says we’re seeing a shift into bigger homes as people work from home and don’t need to be close to the office.

“In August, in the downtown core, condo sales were flat on a year-over-year basis. However, detached home sales across Greater Vancouver were up 56 per cent. These two markets are going in opposite directions as consumer preferences have taken a massive turn since COVID,” he told Yahoo Finance Canada.

“Families needing more space are driving market activity, with investors mostly on the sidelines.”

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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