According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, home sales and new listings set all-time records across Metro Vancouver in March.
Residential home sales equaled 5,708 in March. That's 53% more than February, and almost 126% higher than sales one year prior (March 2020).
Board Chair Taylor Biggar has noted that this surge will push price gains into the double digits for the first time on single-family homes and townhomes in 2021.
“Today's activity can be attributed, in part, to an economy that's showing signs of recovery, historically low interest rates, high demand for space, and increased household savings.”
According to Bloomberg, demand is most pronounced in rural and suburban areas, with the largest increase reported in Delta at 195.8 per cent. Whistler and Squamish followed with 194.7 and 188.6 per cent increases, respectively.
The benchmark price for a detached home is now as high $1,700,200, up nearly 18 per cent from last year, whereas the benchmark price of an attached home was just over $872,000, up 10.4 per cent from March 2020.
Bloomberg also reports that the benchmark price for apartments is now nearly $716,000, a 3.7 per cent increase from last year.
Prices increased increased across the region, but they vary by community.
The benchmark price for a single-family detached home across communities in the Lower Mainland was $1,508,000, while on the Sunshine Coast the benchmark price drops to $765,000, the board's latest data show.
Benchmarks represent a typical property in each market, the board notes.
So why so high?
According to MoneySense, the chief driver is foreign money—in particular, money from rich foreigners. Most of this money comes from mainland China.
Data collected by David Ley shows how, over the last few decades, metro Vancouver has become similar to other Pacific Rim “gateway” cities, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Sydney, wherein rising housing costs that are fueled by high immigration-driven population growth and foreign investors.
“In every one of these cities the market is being driven by something other than owner-occupiers. Not just new immigrants, but investors, including offshore investment,” explains Ley. According to Ley, there's a 1-to-1 correlation between Vancouver’s rising real estate prices and the surge in international immigration and offshore investors.