Vancouver home sales bounced back in 2019, but remain below 10-year average

By: Lisa Coxon on January 8, 2020

After enduring sales declines for most of 2018, Vancouver’s housing market bounced back in 2019 with home sales rising by 3% in 2019. But sales still remain below the city’s 10-year average, according to the latest Monthly Market Report from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

There were 25,351 units sold in 2019, according to REBGV, compared to 24,619 in 2018. This is 20% below the Vancouver region’s 10-year sales average and 29.6% below 2017, when the Vancouver market hit a frenzied peak and 35,993 homes exchanged hands.

Ashley Smith, president of REBGV, said in a release that in 2019, the Vancouver housing market faced a quiet spring followed by an increase in buyer demand in the second half of the year.

"We didn’t see typical seasonal patterns in 2019,” Smith said. “Home buyer demand was quieter in the normally busy spring season and it picked up in the second half of the year. In terms of home values, prices dipped between two and four per cent across the region last year depending on property type."

REGBV’s composite benchmark price for all residential properties reached around $1 million by the end of 2019, a 3% year-over-year decrease. 

The benchmark price for apartments decreased by 2.7%; townhomes by 2.4%; and detached homes by 4%.

The benchmark price for an apartment in Vancouver in December 2019 was $656,700; $778,400 for a townhouse, and $1.4 million for a detached home.

Vancouver is not a cheap place to live. Last year, we calculated that it costs at least $2,929.76 a month to live in the region, with housing accounting for $1,818.33 of that amount.

The region’s home sales reached 2,016 in December 2019, an 88% year-over-year increase. (But when looking at month-to-month, the December figure is down 19% from November 2019, when 2,498 sales were recorded.)

“Home buyer confidence was a factor throughout the year,” said Smith.

“In the first quarter, many prospective buyers were in a holding pattern, waiting to see how prices would react to the mortgage stress test, new taxes, and other policy changes. Confidence started to return in the summer, and we saw above average sales in the final quarter of 2019.”