January is typically one of the slowest months for real estate.
However, this wasn’t the case for the first month of 2021.
The real estate boards of Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley have observed increased competition among buyers last month.
This can lead to only one thing: higher home prices.
The experience of Irene Querubin, a new realtor, is a good example.
Querubin represented a young family in New Westminster. Her clients wanted to buy a four-bedroom, three-bath residence in Pitt Meadows.
The RE/MAX Crest Realty agent made an offer for the family in early January. The home got a total of 22 offers.
Originally listed below a million dollars, the house eventually sold for $1,052,500, which was $150,000 over the asking price. The successful buyer took the property without conditions.
Querubin and the same family looked for a new home. They found one in Maple Ridge, also in January.
The Maple Ridge home was listed for around $925,000. Toward the end of last month, the RE/MAX Crest Realty agent submitted an offer on behalf of her clients.
However, the property also got 28 other offers, and 12 of these sought no conditions for the sale. The home sold over the asking price, with a buyer taking it for $1,180,000.
Querubin will have to find another property for her buyers.
“Homes are like some consumer goods when the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020,” Querubin told the Straight on Tuesday (February 2). “Buyers are grabbing them like crazy.”
On the same day, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported that the composite benchmark price for all residential properties in the region reached $1,056,600 in January 2021.
This represents a 5.5 percent increase compared to January 2020, and a 0.9 percent increase over December 2020.
For example, the benchmark price of a detached homes rose to$1,576,800.
This means that the price of a typical freestanding home in January 2021 increased 10.8 percent from January 2020, and 1.4 percent over December 2020.
The REBGV also noted in a media release Tuesday (February 2) that last month’s sales were 36.4 percent 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,” REBGV chair Colette Gerber said. “This is causing increased competition amongst home buyers and upward pressure on prices.”
The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board released a separate report Tuesday (February 2).
According to the FVREB, the benchmark price of a detached home in the region rose to $1,106,500 in January 2021.
The price represents a 2.5 percent increase compared to December 2020 and a 15.2 percent imrpovement over January 2020.
For townhomes, the benchmark price rose to $580,800, a 0.8 percent increase compared to December 2020 and a 7.2 percent rise over January 2020.
The benchmark price of an apartment increased to $439,800 in January 2021. That’s 0.3 percent increase compared to December 2020, and a 4.4 percent improvement over January 2020.
“The challenge is supply,” FVREB president Chris Shields said in a media release.
According to Shields, there’s still a “long way to go” to replenish housing stock.
“It remains a seller’s market,” Shields said.
Shields also noted that buyers are “very motivated right now”.
“People are asking us to find them more space,” he said.
The FVREB reported that sales in January set a new, record high for the month, which was 72 percent above the 10-year average.