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REBGV: Buying or selling a home? Here are 4 trends you can expect in today’s market

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

“A combination of historically high demand, limited housing supply, and COVID-19 restrictions is changing the way buyers and sellers are operating in Metro Vancouver’s housing market. 

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in these conditions, here are four trends you can expect to see – and some advice on how to deal with them. 

1. Limited showings

While REALTORS® are considered an essential service during the pandemic, they still have to serve their clients under strict safety guidelines. That means they must follow cleaning and occupancy protocols that could limit the number of showings they can conduct in a day. This can cause frustration when trying to schedule a showing and may even cause lineups outside of homes that may have many potential buyers. 

To help mitigate this, many Realtors are using technologies like livestreaming, video tours, “dollhouse” or 3D renderings, and even virtual reality to help buyers see the interior of a home listed for sale.  

For buyers, these tools are a great way to visualize space and narrow down potential homes. Make sure to take advantage of them to do your due diligence before requesting an in-person showing. 

For sellers, these tools offer a way to market your home to a wider audience. They’ll also help weed out unserious buyers who might just be seeing what’s out there.

2. Multiple offers

A low supply of homes coupled with unseasonably high demand creates competition between buyers. In today’s market, multiple offer situations are becoming more prevalent, which means if you’re buying a home, you’ll likely be competing with quite a few other potential buyers. 

For buyers, it’s more important than ever to talk to your Realtor and get their advice on setting realistic expectations on what you’re willing to pay for your new home. A good adage to remember in a multiple offer presentation is, “you rarely get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Meaning, consider making the best offer you can afford first, since the seller may choose to deal first with other, higher offers before considering yours. 

It can be disappointing to see a home sell at a price you would have been willing to pay, so consider making your best offer first. With that in mind, don’t let the excitement of a multiple offer presentation push you into offering a price you can’t afford. 

3. Safety protocols

The end of the pandemic may be in sight, but we still need to be vigilant to help keep the curve flat. 

For buyers, this may mean your Realtor will ask you to travel to showing appointments separately. You’ll need to wear a mask and limit the number of people coming with you to view a home in person. 

4. Shorter timelines

Busy markets mean shorter timelines. For sellers, this means your home will likely be on the market for less time. 

For buyers, this means you’ll have less time to do your due diligence. Lining up a home inspector, setting a budget, finding the right professionals, and getting your mortgage pre-approved can help you move faster when the time comes to make an offer on a home. 

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REBGV announces: “Home buyer demand remains elevated across Metro Vancouver”

“In the first month of 2021, Metro Vancouver’s* housing market continued the pattern set at the end of last year with home sale activity outpacing the supply of homes listed for sale. 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,389 in January 2021, a 52.1 per cent increase from the 1,571 sales recorded in January 2020, and a 22.8 per cent decrease from the 3,093 homes sold in December 2020. 

Last month’s sales were 36.4 per cent above the 10-year January sales average. 

“With home sale activity well above our January average, the supply of homes for sale isn’t able to keep pace,” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. “This is causing increased competition amongst home buyers and upward pressure on prices.” 

There were 4,480 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in January 2021. This represents a 15.7 per cent increase compared to the 3,872 homes listed in January 2020 and an 86 per cent increase compared to December 2020 when 2,409 homes were listed. 

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,306, a 3.6 per cent decrease compared to January 2020 (8,617) and a 2.7 per cent decrease compared to December 2020 (8,538). 

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for January 2021 is 28.8 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 26.3 per cent for detached homes, 37.6 per cent for townhomes, and 27.8 per cent for apartments. 

Generally, analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months. 

“Shifting housing needs during the pandemic and historically low interest rates have been key drivers of demand in our market over the last six months,” Gerber said. “People who managed to enter the market a few years ago, and have seen their home values increase, are now looking to move up in the market to accommodate their changing needs.” 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,056,600. This represents a 5.5 per cent increase compared to January 2020 and a 0.9 per cent increase compared to December 2020. 

Sales of detached homes in January 2021 reached 740, a 68.6 per cent increase from the 439 detached sales recorded in January 2020. The benchmark price of a detached homes is $1,576,800. This represents a 10.8 per cent increase from January 2020 and a 1.4 per cent increase compared to December 2020.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,195 in January 2021, a 46.8 per cent increase compared to the 814 sales in January 2020. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $680,800. This represents a 2.2 per cent increase from January 2020 and a 0.6 per cent increase compared to December 2020. 

Attached home sales in January 2021 totalled 454, a 42.8 per cent increase compared to the 318 sales in January 2020. The benchmark price of an attached home is $815,800. This represents a 4.3 per cent increase from January 2020 and a 0.2 per cent increase compared to December 2020.”