The first two weeks of March suggested that we could be in for a much busier Spring market than Greater Vancouver’s residential market has experienced in the last couple of years. That was until preventative measures around the spread of COVID-19 caused major changes to buyer, seller and realtor activity, slowing activity in the second half of the month.
Typical of the trends we have been seeing over the last quarter, March housing market statistics from the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board show sales were up across all product types year-over-year, the home price index (HPI) grew across all home types and the availability of resale homes listed on MLS remained low. The abrupt implementation of physical distancing measures by mid-month, however, caused a dramatic drop in activity amongst buyers and sellers. Sales volumes for the month ended approximately 19.9% below historical averages for March.
So What Does This Mean For The Development Land Market North Of The Fraser?
It’s been said far too many times in the last several weeks, but we are living through an event that is without precedent by modern standards. The economic damage will be widespread and will have a significant impact on businesses across the entire economy. In the short term, a recession is probable (if not already happening) and will likely result in a significant cooling of the market as buyers, sellers and lenders all adjust to new economic and social realities.
In the medium to long term, the staggering amount of economic stimulus being implemented by governments will fuel an economic recovery that will be led, in large part, by the construction and real estate industry. As such, many of the developers we work with recognize that there is substantial opportunity on the other side of this health crisis and are looking for development sites with longer transaction and development timelines as well as favourable terms and minimal risk. Judging by current outlooks, a banner year for residential land sales should not be expected in 2020 but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Check out our curated summary of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s March stats in infographics below.
Please note: areas covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.
View the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s entire stats package for March 2020 here.
This representation is based in whole or in part on data generated by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy.