Fraser Valley nearly breaks August sales record

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) says housing supply hit a four-decade low in August, but that did little to curtail voracious demand that resulted in the second highest sales total for the month in the board’s history.

The 2,087 sales in August marked a 2.4% year-over-year increase, as well as a 4% rise over the previous month, and while transactions couldn’t eclipse the monthly record set 16 years ago, they were well above normal levels.

“Homebuyers are facing one of the worst supply shortages in Fraser Valley history,” Larry Anderson, the board’s president, said in a release. “Our sales are over 30% above normal, while our housing stock is at levels last seen in the early ‘80s.

“To put our supply and demand situation in perspective, for every 100 townhomes on the market in August, Fraser Valley realtors sold 94. The single-family detached and condo markets remained in strong seller’s market territory. Persistent demand and lack of supply continues to put upward pressure on home prices.”

There were only 2,107 listings on the market last month, a precipitous decline of 36.3% from August 2020, and a 13.3% drop from July. Active inventory fell by 44.9% year-over-year and by 16.8% month-over-month to finish August at 4,077.

In its release, the real estate board took the opportunity to point out that the foreign buyer tax introduced by British Columbia’s government five years ago and the B-20 mortgage stress test haven’t curbed runaway housing prices, which have risen by 50% in Fraser Valley over the last five years. In FVREB’s estimation, chronically low housing supply is to blame.

The benchmark price of single-family detached homes increased by 31.1% year-over-year and by 1.3% month-over-month to $1,336,800, reported FVREB, while the price of townhomes rose by 23.7% from last year and by 1.3% from July to $697,500. The board also reported that the benchmark price of a condo apartment grew by 14.1% year-over-year to $498,800, which is a marginal 1% gain from a month earlier.

Last month, single-family detached homes and condos took an average of 29 days to sell, while townhomes took 19 days.