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‘I’m cashing out’: Burnaby house owners rush to sell as price benchmark hits $2M

But will a rush of new listings end up driving down prices?
Real estate listings of $1 million or more are not uncommon in the Tofino-Ucluelet area.

The March sales report by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver came out last week and it show that two out of three Burnaby areas measured surpassed the $2-million mark for a benchmark price. 

Burnaby South currently sits at a benchmark price of $2,067,100 (+4.2% in one month) while Burnaby North was at $2,021,400 (+4.9% in one month). 

Burnaby East stayed under $2 million at $1,776,300 (+2.7% in one month). 

As recent sales have shown, it doesn’t matter how old or wrecked a detached house is, it will likely sell in just days for well over the asking price.

“I’m cashing out,” said D. Gills, a Burnaby senior who had lived in her house for 40 years, in a recent Facebook post.

Other local seniors who bought their homes for peanuts decades ago are now seeing a good time to sell and downsize.

But – and this is a big but – will an influx of people selling now as they are lured by huge prices end up driving those prices down?

REBGV chair Daniel John said in the report that when it comes to listings, there's less than half of what is needed to help shift the market into better conditions.

“We’re still seeing upward pressure on prices across all housing categories in the region,” said John. “Lack of supply is driving this pressure. The number of homes listed for sale on our MLS system today is less than half of what’s needed to shift the market into balanced territory.” 

The real estate board says sales last month were 25.5% above the 10-year March sales average. 

Paul Prade, managing broker at Burnaby's Macdonald Realty, told the NOW in a recent interview responding to the B.C. government’s new “cooling-off period” that while he understands the idea behind the government's proposal, he wonders how much of a positive impact it will actually have.

Prade said the source of the problem is supply, something he has seen consistently over the past 44 years of his career. 

"It's a supply-and-demand business, always has been," he said. 

"At the end of the day, if there is not enough supply and there are all these buyers lining up, how is making it a seven-day delay going to cool it off?" 

So clearly a lack of listings is driving up prices. It will be interesting to see if a bunch of house owners rushing to now sell to cash in will drive down prices.

  • With additional reporting by Jess Balzer
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