A FASCINATING INSIGHT INTO WHY THE REAL ESTATE MARKET HIT ALL TIME HIGHS DURING A PANDEMIC

On the heels of the busiest, most unexpected December in our Board’s history and half a year of the market out-performing all expectations during COVID-19, we turned to one of the most in-demand, economists in our province for insight for you to share with your clients.

We were fortunate to get exclusive, in-depth market intelligence – specific to our Fraser Valley region – from BCREA’s Brendon Ogmundson, who as you can imagine is currently busier than a snow-making machine at local mountains due to 2020’s astounding market numbers.

He details: What happened in Fraser Valley’s market last year, and answers the million-dollar question, can it sustain in 2021?

This is part one of two with the second installment coming in next week’s NewsReal. First, we look back at a year like no other and next week, we look at what’s ahead.

FVREB Communications in conversation with Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA Chief Economist:

Q: How would you describe Fraser Valley’s real estate market in 2020? Walk us through what happened starting from what looked like a decent start of the year…?

After two years of demand being stifled by various government policies – principally the B-20 stress test – and new taxes on housing, the Fraser Valley market was set to continue to recover and record an average, typical year. However, as members know, that return to normal was swiftly upended by a worldwide pandemic that threw a blanket of uncertainty over the entire global economy.

With the industry and society in lockdown during the spring months, the housing market slowed dramatically. Sales in the early spring fell to unprecedented lows and it was anticipated that sales would remain below normal through the summer months and possibly beyond. No one knew.

Then the unexpected happened.  Home sales in the Fraser Valley began to climb in the early summer, eventually setting or nearly setting monthly sales records through the fall and winter.

By year’s end, in the midst of a global pandemic, with BC facing a jump in the unemployment rate to a 30-year high, with borders closed, and with immigration halted, sales in the Fraser Valley finished the year up over 28 per cent while benchmark home prices were up over 13 per cent.

“The housing market in 2020 was nothing short of remarkable.”

Q: No one knows BC’s economy and the housing market like you, how unusual was this post-lockdown response?

The performance of the housing market in 2020 was nothing short of remarkable. The COVID-19 recession battered many sectors of BC’s economy, but looking at the housing market, it would be difficult to tell that there was a recession at all.

In a typical recession, housing sales decline as job losses and heightened uncertainty prompt potential buyers to pull back from the market. At the same time, the supply of listings accumulates as some households are forced to sell due to rising unemployment and falling incomes. The COVID-19 recession, however, has been anything but typical. Instead, this recession has seen a remarkably swift rebound in home sales and prices, not only to pre-COVID-19 levels but to historic highs.

Hindsight is indeed 2020 when it comes to 2020

Q: Did the rebound surprise even you?

A: The speed and strength of the recovery was absolutely surprising, but with the benefit of hindsight we can see clear factors that propelled the market forward.

First, the real estate industry did an excellent job in ensuring that transactions could continue without undue risk to the public. Secondly, the impact of the COVID-19 recession on the provincial labour market was not equal across sectors. Most job losses afflicted low wage sectors of the economy, like front-line service sector jobs, while employment in above-average wage sectors that tend to drive the ownership market has risen about 5 per cent above pre-COVID-19 levels.

Most importantly, a swift and overwhelming policy reponse from the Bank of Canada pushed mortgage rates to new record lows.  All of those factors, along with a surge of pent-up demand after the initial crisis phase of the pandemic, meant that demand for housing returned with vigour.

Homes became all things to all people all the time

Q: We saw some specific home sale trends in the Fraser Valley due to COVID-19 – can you delve into those more?  

A: There’s no question COVID-19 altered the needs of BC families as homes suddenly became a workplace, a school, an entertainment centre, and a refuge.  We’ve seen a pronounced shift towards demand for larger homes and for those working from home, a commute becomes less relevant.

The extra space afforded by a single-family detached home that fulfills those needs, along with record-low borrowing costs, resulted in the sales numbers we’ve seen. In the Fraser Valley, sales of detached homes almost doubled in December, rose over 40 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019 and approached 50 per cent of total sales for the first time since 2017. So, it’s no surprise that prices for detached homes closed the year up with double-digit increases.

Sales of townhouses, a close substitute for single-detached, were up over 30 per cent in 2020, with more modest price gains of around 5 per cent year over year.

  1. And how about apartments? How did Fraser Valley condos fare in a pandemic year?

A: Apartments began the year with challenges due to strata insurance, and as an investment vehicle or entry-level home for first-time buyers, apartments were clearly held back by the pandemic’s impact on younger workers and renters. Still, even with those challenges, apartment sales across the Fraser Valley finished the year higher and prices appreciated close to 5 per cent.

In terms of the condo sector as a whole, as vaccinations progress, the economy heals, and borders open to tourism and immigration, we anticipate demand for apartments will post a strong recovery in 2021.

Thank you, Brendon! That wraps up the first part of our two-part series on Fraser Valley’s real estate market in 2020 and 2021. Don’t miss part two next week, when Brendon Ogmundson, Senior Economist, BCREA, forecasts what’s in store for hopefully a pandemic-recovery year.

For more market intel, head to www.bcrea.bc.ca and keep tabs on their COVID-19 Reopening Dashboard.

Source: FVREB Communications

 


2020 ENDED ON A HIGH FOR REAL ESTATE SALES – CHECK OUT THE MARKET UPDATE FROM SNAPSTATS

SURREY, BC – In a year when the real estate market was at a standstill for months due to COVID-19, total annual sales in the Fraser Valley still finished 12.4 per cent above the 10-year average due to unrelenting, pent-up consumer demand during the second half of 2020.

In December, the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) processed a staggering 2,086 sales, the strongest December on record and 81.2 per cent above normal for the month. New listings in December, were the second highest on record at 1,502. By month’s end, active inventory finished below typical levels, at 3,949 units.

The total sales volume for the year in Fraser Valley was 19,926; an increase of 28.7 per cent compared to 2019’s 15,487 sales and placing it fourth highest for annual sales since 2011.

In 2020, sales of the three main residential property types were as follows: 8,176 single-family detached; 5,102 townhouses; and 4,357 apartments. Year-over-year, sales of detached soared by 41.7 per cent compared to 2019; townhome sales increased by 31.2 per cent and sales of apartments increased by 5.9 per cent.

For more info on the current market call Garry Voigt 604 789 2140 or email info@garryvoigt.com!

 


JUST LISTED – PADDINGTON STATION – LANGLEY – 2 BED – 1 BATH CONDO

242 5660 201a Street. Welcome to PADDINGTON STATION, this bright, open, junior 2 bed condo (2nd bed has a closet but no window) faces south for tons of natural sunlight. Kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite counters, opens to airy dining and living room. Newer laminate floor installed throughout. Cozy up in front of the fireplace or drink your coffee on the south facing deck. Large master bedroom has his & hers closets, cheater door to bathroom plus bonus AIR CONDITIONING! Excellent building amenities, bike storage, gym, amenity room with kitchen, kids craft room and a guest suite. Convenient in suite laundry and essential storage room! Very family friendly building in the heart of Langley, walk to shopping, parks, schools & a short drive to box stores. Pets and rentals allowed (dogs up to 22″).

For more information call Garry Voigt 604 789 2140 or email info@garryvoigt.com

 

 

 

 

 

 


JUST LISTED – MICHAUD GARDENS – 2 BED – 2 BATH CONDO – OVER 1100 SQ FT – LANGLEY

 

MICHAUD GARDENS, This, large 2 bed, 2 bath condo is one level up from the ground floor & has one of the best layouts in the building with bedrooms at opposite ends for privacy. Laminate flooring flows through the open concept dining and living room with cozy fireplace. Every window looks out onto an east facing deck that overlooks private greenspace. Bright, white, eat in kitchen has a pantry & plenty of cabinet & counter space. Large master, big enough for a king, walkthrough his & hers closets lead to ensuite with soaker tub + 2nd bed has adjacent bathroom. Bonus Laundry room with tons of extra storage space. Beautiful grounds with pond/water fountain + full amenity room. Steps to Linwood Park & just blocks from shopping. 1 parking space & ample street parking. Well maintained 19+ building.

For more information, contact Garry Voigt 604 789 2140 – info@garryvoigt.com

 

 


CHECK OUT THE LATEST STATS FOR SEPTEMBER IN THE FRASER VALLEY – IT IS STILL A SELLERS MARKET

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 2,231 sales on its Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in September, an increase of 66.1 per cent compared to the same month last year and an increase of 9.4 per cent compared to August 2020. This is the highest recorded sales for September in the history of FVREB.

In the last three months, Fraser Valley has seen a defined shift in demand towards single family detached homes with sales in July through to September garnering 47 per cent of the three main residential types, compared to 43 per cent during the same period last year.

*Stats above based off data from Fraser Valley Real Estate Board stats centre.

For more information contact Garry Voigt – 604 789 2140 – info@garryvoigt.com

 


JUST LISTED 2 BED – 2 BATH CONDO – LATITUDE IN SULLIVAN STATION

WELCOME TO LATITUDE! This UNIQUE ground floor, CORNER, 2 bed & 2 bath unit has NO neighbours, nobody above or below! This past SHOWHOME unit received extras including french doors accessing to a large fully fenced patio! This home features a bright, open floor plan, high end kitchen with stainless steel appliances, eat up island and ample cabinet and counter space with under cabinet lighting. 2 good size bedrooms & 2 full baths, master ensuite has double sink with frameless shower! + BONUS $3500 in custom closet organizer upgrades. The building has great features such as fitness room, party room with pool table & kitchen, + very secure fenced 8000 sq/ft courtyard with outdoor play area & garden blocks. Steps to transit,  Panorama Village and walkable to Elementary and Secondary schools.

 

For more information call or email Garry Voigt 604 789 2140 info@garryvoigt.com


CHECK OUT THE LATEST SNAPSTATS VIDEO FOR THE FRASER VALLEY

Check out the latest SnapStats for the Fraser Valley. After the affects of the Covid19 pandemic bought things to a halt in March and April, we started to slowly see a recover through May with a huge surge of market activity in June! Sales in June 2020 were up 115% over May 2020. The latest SnapStats indicate that we are in a sellers market** and we are once again seeing multiple offers and listings being sold within days of hitting the market.

For more information on the current Real Estate market, call or email Garry Voigt 604 789 2140 or info@garryvoigt.com.

**The accuracy and completeness of the information is not guaranteed. In providing this information SnapStats® or Garry Voigt do not assume any responsibility or liability. More info at snap-stats.com .

 


JUST LISTED – STUNNING 4/5 BED FAMILY HOME – FLEETWOOD

 

7849 160a Street Nestled in a quiet Cul De Sac in desirable Hazelwood Hills, steps from Fleetwood Park.The grand entry features an elegant curved staircase & main floor has updated flooring, bedroom & bath with shower, formal living/dining room with gas fireplace + huge bay window for tons of light, Kitchen with oversized eat up island leads to family room with gas fireplace, VAULTED ceilings and built in WET BAR! Upstairs boasts HUGE master bed, 5 piece ensuite with double jetted tub & separate shower. 3 other large bedrooms, updated full bathroom & big games room/5th bedroom? Tons of parking in the front + PRIVATE stunning back yard that for entertaining with tons of room for the kids on a huge 9000 sq/ft lot. Walk to William Watson Elementary and Fleetwood Secondary. A home the whole family will love!

 

Contact Garry Voigt for more info 604 789 2140 – info@garryvoigt.com


JUST LISTED – 1 BED – 1 BATH CONDO – CENTRAL SURREY LOCATION

311 13344 102a Street. Location Location Location! Welcome to The Village in Central Surrey – NO CAR NEEDED! This 1 bed, 1 bath condo is about as central as you can get but on a peaceful street! Walking distance to the beautiful Holland Park, one block from S.F.U, walk to Surrey Central Mall, Surrey Rec Centre and Sky Train, bus loop and big box stores. Nice open plan living and dining room with newer laminate flooring has large windows with sliding doors onto the good size patio. Kitchen has serving hatch allowing in more natural light and a good amount of counter space. Good size bedroom plenty big enough for a queen bed. Not only is the location great but rentals are allowed, making this condo an amazing investment opportunity or perfect for your first time buyers. Don’t wait on this one!


10 WAYS IN WHICH WE ARE HELPING OUR CLIENTS SAFELY BUY AND SELL HOMES

Thinking of putting your home on the market? You’re not alone. As of May 25th, new listings in the Fraser Valley have increased by over 46 per cent compared to the same period in April.

And last month, even though transactions were down significantly compared to April of last year, on average on a daily basis, 23 families in the Fraser Valley relied on the guidance and advice from their REALTOR® and purchased a new home, while on average, 47 sellers per day listed their home.

Chris Shields is the President of the FVREB. “Housing needs do not stop during a pandemic. It’s why we were declared an essential service early on and why the real estate industry was included in BC’s phased reopening for businesses.”

“We have been working hard since the beginning of the lockdown to serve our clients in innovative and effective ways that limit personal interaction yet showcase homes and facilitate sales,” added Shields.

If you are currently considering buying or selling a home, here are the top ten actions REALTORS® are taking to meet WorkSafeBC’s new guidelines to serve the public:

  1. DIGITAL COMMUNICATION
    Your Realtor will communicate with you through telephone, email, or video/teleconference. During this period, Realtors have been connecting virtually with their clients more than ever through FaceTime, Zoom and other videoconferencing technologies.
  2. DOUBLING THE VOLUME OF LISTING PHOTOS ON REALTOR.CA
    As you search Canada’s most-viewed real estate website, you’ll notice that Fraser Valley listings may display up to 40 photos now, up from a previous maximum of 20. This allows your Realtor to provide more visual depth and detail for your listing.
  3. VIRTUAL HOME TOURS
    In April, Realtor.ca introduced a new feature that allows Realtors to showcase listings by integrating video and 3D tours from multiple popular services. Since mid-April, traffic to Realtor.ca has increased by 14 per cent and inquiries to Realtors have increased by 25 per cent.
  4. LIVE STREAMING OPEN HOUSES
    Realtors are now scheduling and promoting live stream open houses using popular platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom and YouTube. They walk through the home videoing each room describing while you watch live and in real time. “What’s behind that door?” They’ll show you.
  5. E-TRANSACTIONS
    No sharing of pens and much more efficient. For many years, Fraser Valley Realtors have guided their clients through the completion of MLS® contracts electronically using PDF and e-signature technology.
  6. E-DOCUMENTS
    If you haven’t sold your home in a while, you may not be aware that strata documents, land title documents, floor plans and others are available digitally. Your Realtor will email them to you.
  7. SAFE IN-PERSON VIEWINGS
    When a client is serious about a purchase, they (and their home inspector) must see the home. Per WorkSafeBC’s reopening guidelines, Realtors are working with their buyers and sellers to ensure that in-person viewings adhere to stringent safety protocols including physical distancing; handwashing and sanitizing; the use of masks, gloves and shoe covers; viewings by appointment only; limiting the number of viewers and allowing time to disinfect between viewings.
  8. DISINFECTING REALTOR/CLIENT HIGH-TOUCH SURFACES
    When appropriate, Realtors are taking extra precautions to ensure that high-touch areas such as keys, lockboxes, doorknobs, handrails, elevator buttons, etc. are cleaned and disinfected.
  9. ENSURING REAL ESTATE OFFICES ARE SAFE TO VISIT
    Like many businesses, numerous local real estate brokerages are in the process of reopening and are aware of the government’s stringent public safety guidelines including physical distancing policies, personal protective measures, and disinfection protocols.
  10. NEW PROVINCIAL REAL ESTATE STANDARD FORMS TO PROTECT CLIENTS
    A new Notice & Acknowledgement form is available for use by your Realtor during the COVID-19 pandemic. It alerts clients of changes to the real estate practice and supports your safety by helping you make informed decisions.

For more information about how the FVREB and its 3,671 members are working to keep real estate transactions safe during the pandemic, see our dedicated page at www.fvreb.bc.ca/about/covid-19-update/

In addition, the province’s real estate licensing body, the Real Estate Council of BC has a COVID-19 page devoted to consumers.