Vancouver Housing Market Report
- March breaks new records for housing activity with an 126% increase in home sales compared to March 2020
- Benchmark prices for all property types increased by 9% year-over-year to $1.12M
- Detached home prices increased by 17% year-over-year to $1.70M
- Townhouse prices increased by 10% year-over-year to $872K
- Condo apartment prices increased by 4% year-over-year to $715K
Vancouver Housing Market Overview
Vancouver's housing market experienced a record-breaking March with home sales up by 126% year-over-year and more than 70% over 10-year March averages to 5,708 homes sold. Home prices have also begun to climb back up with a 9% increase year-over-year to $1.12M for all property types in the Greater Vancouver Area. This increase in activity came from both buyers and sellers as loosening restrictions, warmer weather, and rising mortgage rates drove increases in both purchases and new listings. However, inventory continued to decline through the GVA, prompting expectations for further price growth in the next few months.
Notice: Year-over-year comparisons for March and the next two months will be exaggerated by the temporary downturn from the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020.
Home sales are the top-line figure to focus on this month as activity throughout the GVA broke new records for the month. All property types saw significant increases in home sales with activity in detached, townhouses, and condo apartments rising by 131%, 112%, and 129% respectively. While year-over-year comparisons are exaggerated by the initial decline last March from COVID-19, these figures are still far above average levels. Seasonal shifts in activity and rising mortgage rate FOMO are possible factors behind this growth. As mortgage rates increase from their record lows, buyers are looking to lock down their purchases and mortgages before rates increase any further.
Prices have also increased this month as average sold prices for all property types reached $1.12M in the GVA. Like in most other markets in Canada, surburbs and freehold properties saw most of the increase with detached property prices rising by 17% year-over-year to $1.7M. Townhouses, at about half the price of detached homes, also saw a 10% rise year-over-year to $872K. Condo apartments continue to remain stagnant compared to other property types with only a 4% increase year-over-year.
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 down payment of at least 20% and are not eligible for CMHC Mortgage Insurance. Mortgage rates have also recently risen, leading to speculation that the era of easy money is over. However, the federal government and the Bank of Canada have remained consistent in their focus on pushing the economy forward, at least until COVID-19 vaccinations are over.
Home Prices in Vancouver
Single-Family Detached Home Prices in Vancouver
|Statistics for March 2021|
|Benchmark Price:||$1,700,200||17.2% from Mar. 2020|
|Units Sold:||1,965||130.6% from Mar. 2020|
Townhouse Prices in Vancouver
|Statistics for March 2021|
|Benchmark Price:||$872,200||10.2% from Mar. 2020|
|Units Sold:||1,046||112.2% from Mar. 2020|
Condo Prices in Vancouver
|Statistics for March 2021|
|Benchmark Price:||$715,800||4.2% from Mar. 2020|
|Units Sold:||2,697||128.8% from Mar. 2020|
Vancouver Housing Market Statistics for All Property Types in March 2021
MLS HPI Benchmark Price
Property Type Distribution
Top Real Estate Agents in
Housing Markets Across Canada
Market Overview for Detached Homes in March 2021
Market Overview for Townhouses in March 2021
Market Overview for Condo Apartments in March 2021
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 March 2021
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.
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.
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
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.