How has COVID-19 affected the Real Estate Market?
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March sales and new listing data show preliminary impact of COVID-19 on Fraser Valley housing market
SURREY, BC – The most up to date Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) data from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) indicates COVID-19 has put the market on pause, as REALTORS® and the public adhere to health authority rules and government guidelines on the pandemic.
By the end of March, the FVREB processed a total of 1,441 sales on its MLS®, a 7 percent increase compared to sales in February 2020, and an 18 percent increase compared to the 1,221 sales in March 2019. During the first seven business days of the month, property sales were tracking 60 percent higher compared to the same period in March of last year, however, finished significantly lower.
Chris Shields, President of the Board, observes, “Sales were steadily increasing as is typical moving into spring, and then understandably and necessarily, they started to decline. We serve the public and we understand it is very challenging to buy or list a home while maintaining physical distancing, however, if you need us, know that we are here for you.”
“We are grateful that the BC government has designated real estate an essential service, and accordingly, our industry has implemented numerous measures to mitigate and manage risk. We have suspended open houses, restricted showings, pivoted to using technology as much as possible, and are urging Realtors in the middle of completing transactions with their clients to do so electronically.”
The Board received 2,666 new listings in March, a 4 percent increase compared to February’s intake of 2,557 new listings. In the lead up to March 10, new listings were tracking 3 percent higher compared to the same period last year.
By month-end, new listings finished 7 percent lower compared to March of last year taking the number of active listings to 6,083, an increase of 6 percent compared to February’s inventory and a decrease of 13 percent year-over-year.
“Shields adds, “A Realtor’s duty is to protect our clients. Now, as a society, we all have a duty. We are urging consumers to follow all recommended health and government guidelines and are committed to doing our part for as long as necessary.”
In March, the average number of days to sell an apartment was 27; 28 for townhomes and 38 or single-family detached.
MLS® HPI Benchmark Price Activity
- Single Family Detached:At $988,500, the Benchmark price for a single-family detached home in the Fraser Valley increased 1.8 percent compared to February and, also increased by 2.6 percent compared to March 2019.
- Townhomes:At $549,600*, the Benchmark price for a townhome in the Fraser Valley increased 0.7 percent compared to February and increased 1.3 percent compared to March 2019.
*Effective Mar 2020, MLS® HPI for townhomes updated and revised back to Jan 2005
- Apartments: At $423,200, the Benchmark price for apartments/condos in the Fraser Valley increased 2.1 percent compared to February and increased 1.2 percent compared to March 2019.