British Columbia has remained one of the most attractive provinces to live in, thanks to its marvelous sights, high quality of living, and laid-back west coast charm that has lured thousands of homebuyers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
At the heart of the British Columbia real estate market is one of the nation’s largest cities: Vancouver. It has been well-documented how well the Vancouver housing sector has performed in the aftermath of the first wave of the COVID-19 public health crisis. But as property prices skyrocket – from detached homes to condominium units – first-time homebuyers are facing a barrier to entry. This is leading to a situation whereby neighbouring regions in B.C. witness tremendous growth.
Could potential homeowners seek opportunities elsewhere in the western province? British Columbia has plenty of housing markets that are enjoying record-setting sales activity and valuations, whether in the Fraser Valley or Victoria. But while many industry observers warn of bubbles and market crashes, could homebuyers find opportunities in the Langley real estate market? Like everywhere else in the province, the suburban housing markets are hotter than ever before. Let’s look at the numbers.
Langley BC Housing Market Continues to Heat Up
According to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB), Langley saw massive gains in residential sales, with every type of property reporting enormous growth. Detached home sales surged 34.1 per cent year-over-year in March for a total of 122 transactions. Townhome sales advanced 142.4 per cent year-over-year to 206, while condo sales increased 132.4 per cent from the same time a year ago to 172.
Price growth was notable, too. The benchmark price for a detached home in the Langley real estate market soared 20.8 per cent year-over-year to $1.21 million. Condos prices edged up 5.9 per cent to $415,600, while the price tag for townhouses rose 9.4 per cent to $611,600.
Listings were a crucial factor for real estate agents in March, which were up, but not nearly by enough to meet demand. New listings for detached properties rose 17 per cent, townhouses soared 63.2 per cent, and condos climbed 0.9 per cent. Active listings were up 31.6 per cent for houses, 12.5 per cent for townhomes, and 3.1 per cent for condos.
Is there relief on the horizon? According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), housing starts have picked up immensely. In March, there were 34 housing starts and ten completions in the area, up from 18 and two, respectively, at the same time a year ago. In the first three months of 2021, housing starts totaled 148, and completions reached 44.
Is Langley Facing a Housing Shortage?
The suburbs have become one of the hottest segments of the real estate market during the COVID-19 pandemic. As more working professionals enjoying the freedom of working from home with children pivoting to online learning, the need for more space has intensified for many households. For city slickers, they might have taken the windfall from their Metro Vancouver properties and sought refuge in small towns, suburban municipalities, and rural communities promising additional square footage for their dollars.
But has there been enough supply to satisfy the rising demand? The data shows that demand is outpacing inventories. That said, perhaps this CBC News report highlights just how much the Langley real estate market is swelling within an environment of historically low interest rates, pent-up demand, and evolving consumer trends.
In April, dozens of would-be homebuyers lined up on a sidewalk in Langley for a chance to purchase one of the townhomes for sale, with a price-tag ranging between $739,000 and $959,000. The report highlighted a divide between homebuyers, investors, and speculators, outlined by one of the interested individuals, who told the broadcaster:
“My goal is to live. I’m moving to live. A lot of people are investors or speculators, just trying to [snap up] the cheapest units to rent it out or re-assign later on. But I’m buying to live.”
Indeed, this was a representation of how hot the sector is in the suburb that is about 45 kilometres east of Vancouver as more development takes place in the community.
Will Rural BC Housing Markets Cool Down Soon?
There is almost a universal expectation that once the coronavirus pandemic subsides, real estate markets in the suburbs will start to cool down. It is believed that homeowners sitting on the sidelines throughout these conditions might muster up the courage to put up a for-sale sign. With near-zero interest rates anticipated to remain intact until sometime next year, homeowners may also have a fear of missing out on lucrative gains. Until then, families are combing through the B.C. real estate market to achieve the Canadian dream, even if it comes at a premium.