Vancouver real estate: sales of detached homes tumble in sign of COVID-19-driven mania “finally reversing”

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      Real estate boards in the Lower Mainland are expected to release their latest monthly reports soon.

      By all indications, markets marked another slowdown in July 2021.

      The decline is most pronounced in detached homes, which attracted premium prices at the height of COVID-19 as buyers wanted bigger spaces to ride out the pandemic.

      Numbers crunched by real-estate site indicate that 1,041 single-family homes were sold in markets served by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) in July 2021.

      The number represents an 18 percent month-over-month decline from June 2021, and a 7.4 percent drop compared to July 2020.

      The same picture emerges for the markets served by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB).

      In July 2021, realtors in this region sold a total of 831 detached homes.

      The sales represent a 12.7 percent decline from June 2021, and a 13.7 drop compared to July 2020.

      It’s the same story for the Chilliwack and Region Real Estate Board (CADREB).

      In July 2021, a total of 171 detached homes were sold in the region.

      The number marks a 27.8 percent drop from June 2021, and a 16.2 slide from July 2020.

      These all mean one thing for Adam Major, CEO of and managing broker for the site’s owner, Holywell Properties.

      “This is a sign that the COVID mania driving demand for more space and a detached home in the suburbs is finally reversing,” Major told the Straight.

      For the combined markets covered by the REBGV, FVREB and CADREB, a total of 2,043 detached homes changed hands in July 2021.

      This means a 16.9 percent drop from June 2021, and a 10.8 percent decline from July 2020.

      Major also looked back over 10 years at the region covered by the REBGV that includes Vancouver but not Surrey, which is under the FVREB.

      Major noted that the 1,041 detached sales in Greater Vancouver in July 2021 is “actually below the 10-year average of 1,053 for July”.

      “For detached sales, this July is the sixth busiest July in a decade, so the detached market is definitely cooling,” the Holywell Properties executive noted.

      In the city of Vancouver, detached homes recorded a drop in sales month-over-month but still notched annual increases.

      East Vancouver saw 144 detached homes sold in July 2021, a 7.1 decline from June 2021 and a 2.1 percent increase compared to July 2020.

      On the pricier West Side of Vancouver, 93 detached homes changed owners in July 2021, marking a 19.1 percent decrease from the previous month and a 20.8 percent increase from July 2020.

      Per's tracking, this #23 65367 Kawkawa Lake Road mobile home in Hope was the least expensive residence sold in the Lower Mainland in July 2021 at $39,500.

      As for condos in Greater Vancouver, the picture is a little bit more complex in July 2021.

      Last month, realtors with the REBGV sold 1,675 condo units, a 5.8 percent drop from June 2021 but a 19.5 percent increase compared to July 2020.

      “The 1,675 apartment sales is the second busiest July in a decade, so the low interest and cheap mortgages that are still available are definitely helping to keep the market active,” Major said.

      Again in REBGV markets, a total of 610 townhouses were sold in July 2021, marking a 16 percent decline from the previous month and a slight 0.5 percent annual increase from July 2020.

      “Townhouse sales in Greater Vancouver are almost flat year-over-year,” Major noted.

      Real estate markets peaked in Greater Vancouver and the rest of the Lower Mainland in March 2021.

      That is all now in the rear view mirror.

      “Bottom line is that although the market has slowed 42 percent since March,” Major said about Greatre Vancouver.

      The bright spot is the condo market.

      “The apartment market remains active with prices for apartments hitting a new record,” Major noted.

      In July 2021, the median price of an apartment in Greater Vancouver reached $650,000, or $649,900 to be exact.

      “The median apartment price is up 10 percent year over year from the $590,000 price recorded in July, 2020,” Major explained.

      There are other things going for the real estate market.

      The Bank of Canada led by Tiff Macklem is holding its key interest rate steady at its lowest level of 0.25 percent until up to the first half of 2022.

      Meanwhile, the federal government of Canada announced on July 30 that it is extending COVID-19 benefits and business supports.

      “Thanks to Tiff and the free money machine for keeping the party going!” Major said tongue in cheek. “Let’s hope they never take the punch bowl away!”