2021 the Hottest in 100-Year History for Fraser Valley Home Sales
Last year has proven to be the busiest on record for Canada’s west coast housing markets, as the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board reports the highest level of sales in its 100-year history.
A total of 27,692 homes traded hands in 2021, up 39% from 2020, and 16.5% higher than the previous record of 23,974 in 2016. Like other major markets across the country, the boom in buyer activity was driven by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, historically low mortgage rates, and the flexibility to move further away from urban centres.
Relative Affordability Drove Buyer Boom
Buyers also came to the Fraser Valley in hopes of stretching their real estate budgets as the region is considered comparably more affordable than neighbouring Metro Vancouver.
“No one could have predicted how the pandemic would impact the real estate market. Our region’s relative affordability, combined with a newfound ability to work from home and the value for housing dollar in the Fraser Valley attracted buyers in numbers like we’ve never seen,” stated FVREB President Larry Anderson.
He adds that while the market enjoyed the second-highest influx of new listings on record in 2021, with 35,629 homes coming to market – a year over year increase of 12.4% – it wasn’t enough to offer relief from steep sellers-friendly conditions.
“Whether helping sellers list or helping buyers complete a sale, our Board averaged over 5,200 transactions every month. And even though our volume of new listings was also high, it just couldn’t keep up with the demand,” he stated.
Condo Sales Growth Doubled That of Houses
Condos were the most in-demand home type by far, largely due to their relative affordability. Sales up 68.9% in 2021 from year-ago levels, more than double the 31.8% and 33.7% rates of growth in the detached and townhome segments, respectively.
“With the rapid escalation of prices in 2021, many buyers made decisions based on economic factors, resulting in an explosion of condo sales in our region,” stated Anderson.
December the Second-Hottest on Record for the Region
The year also came to a close with the second-busiest December on record, with a total of 1,808 sales, 13.3% shy from the all-time high set at the end of 2020. However, it’s clear the region is starting to feel a supply crunch, as only 1,278 homes were newly listed over the course of the month – down 15% from last year – and total active inventory is sitting 60% below the 10-year average.
Given the flood of buyer demand and scant supply, price growth has been on a tear over the past year, with the average price for all property types clocking in at $1,142,946, a whopping 26.1% increase from December 2020, and up 3.8% from November.
That’s driven interest in the most affordable end of the market; condos were the only home type to post a year-over-year increase in sales numbers with 544 transactions, up 19% from December 2020. The average price for a unit clocked in at $549,821, up 30.3%, but still cheaper than the average detached single-family home in the region by more than a million bucks. A total of 635 houses sold at an average price of $1,674,255 (up 37.1% year over year), though lagging 2020 numbers by -27%.
Townhouse sales, meanwhile, fell 17.4% annually, with 414 sales, while prices soared 40.3% to an average of $863,387.
And, pandemic uncertainty aside, the stage looks set for another banner year for sales in 2022, as the Canadian Real Estate Association has forecasted the second-best year on record, with 610,700 sales nationwide.
Penelope Graham is the managing editor of Zoocasa.com, a leading real estate resource that uses full brokerage service and online tools to empower Canadians to buy or sell their home faster, easier, and more successfully.