And yet, for several reasons, real estate is booming in Burnaby amid all the pandemic uncertainty.
Burnaby developer Beedie Living launched the townhome project Kin Collectionin South Burnaby’s Metrotown area that included a “COVID-friendly presentation centre.”
More than 100 homes have already been sold, making the project 80% sold in the first two weeks of sales. The project is the fastest-selling townhouse project of 2020, according to Beedie, and reflects a strong demand for housing.
Indeed, the real estate market in Metro Vancouver had its best September on record this year in terms of the number of homes sold. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said recently that 3,643 homes were sold last month, up 56.2 per cent from the 2,333 sold in September 2019. Sales were also up 19.6 per cent from the 3,047 homes sold in August.
For the Kin Collection project, approximately half of the buyers have been from Burnaby, said Beedie, with half of those upsizing from a condo to a larger family home.
This comes at a time when many people are cutting back on expenditures due to a lack of confidence in the economy due to COVID-19 or because people have been part of a wave of pandemic-related layoffs.
Sunny Hahm, Beedie Living’s director of marketing strategy, listed several reasons for the fast sales.
Many referenced the pandemic and growing families as reasons for wanting more living space, said Hahm.
“Families are looking for more space, especially post-COVID when much of life revolves around the home experience,” said Hahm. “While some developers are building smaller compact homes, Beedie Living knows that many buyers are looking for more space.”
Hahm said extensive outdoor space, including private balconies and rooftop patios, in addition to the extensive green space around the project and in the public spaces, was the number-one amenity that buyers referenced as vital.
“In our post-COVID-19 world, homeowners have put higher values to private and public outdoor amenity spaces,” Hahm said.
Hahm also referenced a lack of townhouse supply in South Burnaby, saying that since 2015, only 230 townhomes have been introduced in this marketplace.
While a wave of homes hit the Metro Vancouver market last month, it was not enough to keep up with demand and low supply has pushed prices higher, said real estate board chairwoman Colette Gerber.
There were 6,402 properties newly listed for sale in September, up 10.1 per cent from August. But the sales-to-active listings ratio — a key metric used to analyze home prices — was 27.8 per cent, above the 20-per-cent threshold where prices tend to rise.
Gerber says low interest rates and changing housing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic have also influenced the market, which is recovering from a lockdown that slowed sales in the spring selling season.
- With files from the Canadian Press