As home listings and sales declined in April amid COVID 19, new tools and practices emerge to help buyers and sellers adapt. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,109 in April 2020, a 39.4% decrease from the 1,829 sales recorded in April 2019, and a 56.1% decrease from the 2,524 homes sold in March 2020. Last months sales were 62.7% below the 10 year April sales average and was the lowest total for the month since 1982.
"Predictably the number of home sales and listings declined in April given the physical distancing measures in place," Colette Gerber, REBGV's president-elect said. "People are, however, adapting. They're working with their Realtors to get information, advice and to explore their options so that they're best positioned in the market during and after this pandemic."
Realtors have been named an essential service by the provincial government to help the home buying and selling community meet their housing needs during the pandemic.
"We're seeing more innovation in today's market, with Realtors using different technology to showcase homes virtually, assess neighbourhood amenities with their clients and handle paperwork electronically." Gerber said
Even though sales and listings have decreased due to a forced hand onto the market "Home prices have held relatively steady in our region since the COVID 19 situation worsened in March," Gerber said. The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,036,000. This represents a 2.5% increase over April of last year. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,462,100 which represents a 2.3% increase over April of last year. The benchmark price for an apartment property in $685,500 which represents a 2.7% increase over April of last year. The benchmark price of an attached home is $796,800 which represents a 2.8% increase over April of last year.
Though sales and listing inventory may have had a steep decline because of forces beyond our control, the demand to buy homes is still high. Because the listing pool is so limited, those that need to buy are often bidding on the same home or being more aggressive to purchase. This is keeping home prices stable and is leading to a slight price increase vs a decrease. As the physical distancing requirements begin to ease (we don't know when this will be) we are optimistic to see a surge in home seller and buyer activity. That will be represented in a flood of new product hitting the market and the pent up buyer demand eagerly waiting to purchase.