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Opinion: ‘I blinked and my listing sold,’ says Burnaby real estate agent about hot market

Sales across Canada are up 76%

More real estate agents have been talking with me about just how wild the housing market is in Burnaby and beyond.

One veteran agent didn’t want their name used because they said it was “embarrassing” how insane things are right now. Some listings are getting up to 50 different offers, some with “blind bidding,” no subjects considered and up to 50% over the asking price.

“I had one property that just flew,” the agent said. “I blinked and my listing sold. I barely had to do anything except just waiting for the offers to roll in. People are buying like crazy.”

A trickle of supply started returned to the country's real estate sector in March, but it did little to cool off heated markets as monthly home sales hit an all-time record, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Thursday.

Sales across the country amounted to 76,259 last month, up 76.2 per cent from 43,283 during the same period last year.

Yes, you heard that right – 76 per cent.

As sales climbed, so did the number of Canadians willing to sell their homes. 

The market saw 105,001 new listings during the month, a more than 50 per cent increase from 69,665 last March. Listings were up 7.5 per cent on a seasonally adjusted month-over-month basis.

"Remarkable is really the best word I can think of to describe just the strength of the housing market month after month," said Steve Ranson, chief executive of HomeEquity Bank.

Since last year, people have engaged in bidding wars, put in offers on properties they hadn't even seen and often, dropped any conditions they might have attached to a bid.

That drove the average price of a home sold in Canada during March up to $716,828, a 31.6 per cent increase from $544,824 at the same time last year.

While pricier markets like Toronto and Vancouver have long felt the heat, suburban and rural regions also saw properties become more expensive and harder to scoop up in recent months because many Canadians were allowed to work from wherever they wanted.

Many have attributed the conditions to a lack of listings, but Doug Porter said new listings hit their highest level on record in seasonally adjusted terms in March.

"The only possible world in which supply can be considered anything remotely in shortage is when stacked up against the extraterrestrial level of demand," the chief economist at BMO Financial Group said in a note to investors.

New listings were "vapourized" by "scalding" and "fiery" demand, said Porter, who included a list of more than 30 adjectives to describe the strength of the market in his note.

  • With files from The Canadian Press