As 2021 draws to a close, many home sellers, buyers, and realtors are likely remarking on what a year it has been.
As of November, year-to-date sales of 117,973 properties across B.C. have already surpassed the previous best provincial annual record of 112,425 units that was set for the entire year of 2016.
Also, with the December tally still yet to be counted, sales have already exceeded transactions for the whole year of 2020.
The Straight asked realtors about deals they either had a hand in or taken note of as interested market observers during the year.
Here’s what they shared.
Buyers fight back
Irene Querubin of RE/MAX Crest Realty represented a husband and wife who were looking for a condo for themselves and their two young sons.
They found a two-bedroom-plus-den, two-bath unit on 102 Avenue near Guildford Mall in Surrey. The property was listed for $499,888. Querubin’s clients liked it so much, and knowing that they may be in a multiple-buyer situation, they offered about $50,000 above the asking price.
About an hour after the offer deadline, the listing agent called Querubin. The agent said that three offers were received and everyone was being given a chance to “give it one more try”.
Querubin relayed the message to her clients, and they became angry. They said that they didn’t care if they got the place or not. And to prove their point, the husband and wife changed their bid, and made it $10,000 less than what they had offered.
In the end, they got the property.
“I was so proud of them for fighting back as buyers in this crazy seller’s market,” Querubin said.
Perfect for budget
Karen Conyers of Sotheby’s International Realty worked for more than a year with a married couple. Her clients were first-time buyers.
A generous parental gift increased the husband and wife’s home-finding budget.
With a top budget of $400,000, it was quite a challenge to find something that would work. After being outbid on several properties, Conyers found a two-bedroom condo at 15290 Thrift Avenue in White Rock that had been on the market for 76 days for $426,000.
Conyers noted that sellers, especially in a hot market, tend to get anxious when their homes don’t sell right away. She wrote an offer, including a letter explaining why the property was a perfect first home for her clients.
After serious consideration, the sellers agreed to the buyers’ price and terms.
They reduced their price by $26,000, matching the top budget of Conyers’s clients.
“We were able to remove the conditions to the sale, and my first-time home buyers will get the keys to their first home on January 1, 2022,” Conyers said. “What a great way to start the year.”
Randy Rinaldo of Rennie & Associates Realty Ltd. did deals that saw his clients enjoying a quick lift in the value of their homes as properties became more valuable.
The realtor talked about a client who was looking for a fixer-upper townhouse in North Burnaby. He found one in a complex at 7305 Montecito Drive that backed onto a park and school.
Rinaldo’s client liked the property and wanted to put in an offer. The problem was that the sellers already had an offer that they had countered.
That told Rinaldo that the sellers received an offer that was lower than asking.
He spoke with the sellers’ agent and said that if other buyers countered, Rinaldo would put in a good offer.
That’s exactly what happened, and Rinaldo submitted an offer at the full price of $535,000.
The offer was accepted, and while the conditions to the sale were being fulfilled,
Rinaldo spoke with another realtor who had just listed another unit in the same complex.
The other agent’s listing ended up selling over the asking price for $580,000.
This property measures 1,238 square feet, which was 49 square feet smaller than Rinaldo’s client, who paid $535,000. That’s a difference of $52.80 per square foot.
“My clients’ equity grew by $68,000 in a single week,” Rinaldo said. “Happy client, happy realtor.”
Prototype of insanity
Adam Major of Holywell Properties gets to track deals because his company also operates Zealty.ca, a real-estate market information site.
Major recalls the sale by another realty company of a two-bedroom unit in the Autumnwood townhouse complex in Langley last March for a particular reason.
Major considers the $1,320,000 transaction in March 2021 for 29-8555 209 Street as the “prototype for the insanity of the year”.
The Langley townhouse sold 61 percent over the asking price. Major noted that the nice thing about the property was that it was a “cool half-million over the asking price”.
In addition, it was 77 percent over assessed value, and a half a million dollars above the price of any previous sale in that complex.
“In other words, the property was not priced below market to attract a bidding war: it was just a confluence of factors that caused huge demand and got someone to put in a ridiculous offer to ensure they got the property,” Major said.
The Zealty.ca CEO noted that since that sale, five other units in the same complex sold for over $1 million. Two of these went for over $1.2 million.
“But #29 still holds the price record for Autumnwood,” Major said.
West End affordability
David Hutchinson of Sutton Group–West Coast Realty represented a seller in Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood. The property, at a 1534 Harwood Street development, was a leasehold condo.
In connection with this, Hutchinson recalled that the Straight did a story about leasehold properties being more affordable that their fee-simple counterparts.
“This is an example of affordability in one of the best locations in Vancouver,” Hutchinson said. “This unit with wonderful views is in an unbeatable location with an unbeatable price.”
The one-bedroom condo sold for $360,000.
“Another interesting thing about this sale is that it’s next to an actual detached house that I sold for over $6 million a couple years ago,” Hutchinson said.
“That’s the beauty of the West End: you can buy a condo for under $400,000 with a $6 million neighbour!”
Trent Rodney of West Coast Modern says million-dollar views no longer mean ocean views only.
Rodney noted that his boutique realty agency, which specializes in unique homes, proved this point with its $5.1 million sale of the Orchard House at 1990 Fulton Avenue in West Vancouver.
He explained that the home, designed by the late architect Robert Burgers, “cross-pollinates West Coast architectural sensibilities with the Dutch-farmhouse look”.
“Boasting 22 fruit trees, including multiple heritage apple varieties, it brings home the joy of summer fruit picking right in the middle of West Vancouver,” Rodney said. “It is truly a one-of-a-kind collectible work of art to live in.”More