Vancouver Housing Market Report

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Report Updated: February 9th, 2021

Vancouver's real estate market started off 2021 with strong results for January. Benchmark prices for all property types are now at $1,056,600. Benchmark prices for detached homes continued their straight incline and reached over $1.57 million, a 10% increase versus January 2020. Townhouses and condo apartment followed behind with benchmark prices of $815,800 and $680,800 and annual increases of 4% and 3%, respectively.

Sales activity was also elevated compared to 2020 with 2,389 homes sold in the month, a 52% increase vs. January 2020. Sales of detached homes increased the most with a 52% increase to 740 sales while townhouses and condo apartments increased by similar levels to 454 and 1,195 sales in the month, respectively. However, total sales remained lower than previous highs set in Aug. and Oct. 2020 - a reflection of the seasonal flutuation of sales activity.

Vancouver Housing Market Overview

Data for January 2021
Benchmark Price:$1,056,600
All Property Types:$1,056,600
Detached:$1,576,800
Townhouse:$815,800
Condo Apartment:$680,800
Transactions (Buy/Sell):2,389
All Property Types:2,389
Detached:740
Townhouse:454
Condo Apartment:1,195

With average prices above $1 million, further growth in Vancouver's real estate market will be more difficult compared to cheaper real estate markets in Canada, including Montreal's housing market and Ottawa's housing market. Finanching for these homes will require a downpayment of at least 20% and are not eligible for CMHC Mortgage Insurance. However, a slow vaccine rollout combined with promises of further support and stimulus from the Federal government and the Bank of Canada will likely continue to support the valuations of real assets, providing a tailwind for Vancouver's real estate market.

Home Prices in Vancouver

Single-Family Detached Home Prices in Vancouver

Statistics for January 2021
Benchmark Price: $1,576,80010.2% from Jan. 2020
Units Sold: 74068.6% from Jan. 2020

Townhouse Prices in Vancouver

Statistics for January 2021
Benchmark Price: $815,8004.3% from Jan. 2020
Units Sold: 45442.8% from Jan. 2020

Condo Prices in Vancouver

Statistics for January 2021
Benchmark Price: $680,8002.7% from Jan. 2020
Units Sold: 1,19546.8% from Jan. 2020

Vancouver Housing Market Statistics for All Property Types in February 2021

$1,056,600
Benchmark Price
1%
Monthly change
1%
Quarterly change
5%
Annual change
2,389
Transactions (Buy/Sell)
-23%
Monthly change
-35%
Quarterly change
52%
Annual change

Total Transactions

Property Type Distribution

Impacts on Mortgages and Mortgage Rates

Due in part to the continued growth in real estate as well as loose monetary policy, mortgage lenders, including members of the Big Five (RBC, TD, CIBC, Scotiabank, and BMO), are increasingly willing to discount risk in the housing market and are offering record-low mortgage rates. Although this highly-competitive market may not last past the end of 2020, mortgage rates are not expected to rise significantly by 2022.

Housing Markets Across Canada

Market Overview for Detached Homes in February 2021

$1,576,800
Benchmark Price
1%
Monthly change
3%
Quarterly change
10%
Annual change
740
Transactions (Buy/Sell)
-28%
Monthly change
-45%
Quarterly change
69%
Annual change

Benchmark Price

Transactions

Market Overview for Townhouses in February 2021

$815,800
Benchmark Price
0.23%
Monthly change
0.34%
Quarterly change
4%
Annual change
454
Transactions (Buy/Sell)
-23%
Monthly change
-42%
Quarterly change
43%
Annual change

Benchmark Price

Transactions

Market Overview for Condo Apartments in February 2021

$680,800
Benchmark Price
0.64%
Monthly change
-0.4%
Quarterly change
3%
Annual change
1,195
Transactions (Buy/Sell)
-19%
Monthly change
-24%
Quarterly change
47%
Annual change

Benchmark Price

Transactions

Regulation of Strata Insurance

Condo owners in Vancouver and B.C. have recently faced significant increases in their their strata insurance rates. According to a 2019 report commissioned by the B.C. Financial Services Authority, strata insurance premiums in B.C. increased by on average 40% in 2019 alone. Owners in Metro Vancouver faced even greater increases with an average increase of 50%. These costs have placed a headwind to condo prices in Vancouver as condo fees adjust to the new costs.

In response to the financial hardships caused by strata insurance premiums and COVID-19, the B.C. Ministry of Finance recently announced an amendment that, along with a proposed bill, will:

  • End referral fees between insurers or insurance brokers and strata property managers or other third parties
  • Require strata corporations to inform owners about insurance coverage, policy changes, and allow use of the contingency reserve fund
  • Protect strata unit owners against large lawsuits where the owner was not at fault
  • Change the minimum required contributions made by strata unit owners and developers to a strata corporation's contingency reserve fund

These changes will help condo owners deal with the financial burden of strata insurance and open the industry to more transparency.

What is Strata Insurance?

Greater Vancouver Area Breakdown by Region for February 2021

City
Benchmark Price
#1Lower Mainland$1,002,600
#2Greater Vancouver$1,056,600
#3Bowen Island$1,196,500
#4Burnaby East$1,001,200
#5Burnaby North$912,700
#6Burnaby South$971,500
#7Coquitlam$967,200
#8Ladner$871,300
#9Maple Ridge$829,100
#10New Westminster$670,300
#11North Vancouver$1,134,700
#12Pitt Meadows$789,200
#13Port Coquitlam$804,800
#14Port Moody$954,000
#15Richmond$962,700
#16Squamish$800,800
#17Sunshine Coast$721,800
#18Tsawwassen$1,011,400
#19Vancouver East$1,114,300
#20Vancouver West$1,257,100
#21West Vancouver$2,362,300
#22Whistler$963,300
#23North Delta$971,200
#24North Surrey$817,000
#25Surrey$898,400
#26Cloverdale$950,300
#27South Surrey$1,005,400
#28Langley$887,300
#29Abbotsford$674,300
#30Mission$768,000

Glossary and Definitions

MLS® HPI: The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) is an index by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) that tracks the prices of homes in a neighborhood. It allows Canadians to quickly compare home prices across Canada and between periods of time without having to account for specific features of a property. Unlike market prices, which can fluctuate from month to month based on seasonal dynamics, the HPI provides a stable view tracks trends across a longer period of time. The HPI is reviewed every year in May to adjust for changes in the real estate marketplace.

MLS® HPI Benchmark Price: The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Benchmark Price is the HPI translated into a real-world price number.

Strata Insurance: Strata insurance is insurance used by a strata like a condominium to covers damages to common areas and assets and liability to the strata. It can also include fixtures built or installed as part of the original construction of each unit, even though these may not be common structures. The insurance can cover:

  • Buildings and structures associated with the strata including common areas such as the roof, parking garages, driveways, gyms, pools, etc.
  • Liability for any property damage or bodily injury suffered on strata property
  • Any fixtures that are part of the "standard unit" or original construction of each unit

Strata insurance does not usually include personal items and appliances that are part of a condo unit. It also does not cover the damages made by individual unit owners, such as in the case of water damage caused by a unit owner. These are usually covered by personal condo insurance.

Property types

Detached home: A detached home is your standard single-family home. It is a residential building that stands alone and is separately titled or legally a single unit.

Semi-detached home: A semi-detached home is similar to a detached home, except it shares a wall with another home. This pair of homes must make up an independent building and each should be separately titled or legally two separate units. There can only be two homes in a semi-detached building.

Townhouses: A townhouse is the middle between a detached/semi-detached home and a condo apartment. Like detached and semi-detached homes, they are often single-family units that have their own land and may be attached to other units. However, like condo apartments, they typically have to pay co-ownership fees for maintenance and may share some common features with their neighbors.

Condo apartment: This category includes all apartments and condominiums. These are complexes of residential units with common areas such as hallways, parking lots, stairwells, etc. They can be low-rise, mid-rise, or high-rise buildings. Unlike townhouses, there are no parts of the lot (the land of the building) where access is reserved for only one owner or occupant. There can be privately owned units and spaces inside the building.

Plexes are multi-story buildings with two to four individual units, usually one on each floor. They are a mainstay in Montreal and other cities in Quebec. Each unit is usually individually accessible via an external entrance with higher floors connected by staircases.

Property Classes

Freeholds: A freehold is any property where the owner owns both the house and the land it is built on. Common freehold property types include: detached, semi-detached, some townhouses, and farmland.

Condominiums: A condominium or condo is any property where the owner owns the home (or unit) but shares ownership of the land and other improvements with a condominium corporation. Common condominium property types include condo apartments and some townhouses.

Housing Markets Across Canada

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Data sourced from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Any analysis or commentary is the opinion of the analysts at WOWA.ca and should not be construed as investment advice. Please consult a licensed real estate professional before making a real estate investment decision. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.