The sale of homes started to increase in Langley in May as restrictions prompted by the coronavirus slowly eased, but numbers were still down sharply from last year.
“Everything’s now thawing,” said Ty Corsie, a local realtor.
He said that 60 days ago, it was like the entire local real estate market was frozen, but now things are starting to move again as buyers and sellers adjust to the new normal.
According to data from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) 59 single-family homes changed hands in Langley last month, down 32.2 per cent from the same month in 2019.
There were 52 townhouses sold, down 38.8 per cent, and 50 condos sold, down 38.3 per cent from a year before.
The numbers were comparable to sales volumes seen in January, traditionally one of the slowest months for real estate in the year, when 49 houses, 47 townhouses, and 46 condos were sold in Langley.
But Corsie noted that both buyers and sellers are re-entering the market. His firm listed six homes for sale this week alone, much more than they normally would. It looks like a delayed spring, he said, with people trying to make up for time lost in March and April.
Despite the overall low sales numbers compared to last year, Langley was faring better on average than many of its neighbours.
Overall, the Fraser Valley region saw a 46.9 per cent decline across all home types in communities running from North Delta through to Abbotsford. There were 805 home sales, down from 1,517 the year before.
Local sales also represent a significant improvement from April, when sales in Langley were down by 50 per cent.
READ MORE: Coronavirus hammers Langley housing market
Prices remained stable, with the price of a single-detached house in Langley still hovering near $1 million, where it had been for some time. The Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation has predicted that Canadian house prices will decline this year and the next, anywhere between nine and 18 per cent.
The benchmark prices for townhouses and condos were also up slightly in May compared to a year ago in Langley.
Corsie said a big part of the increase has been the creation of a “new normal” that allows people to see houses again. People are wearing gloves and masks to visit homes before signing contracts.
The pandemic and the physical distancing restrictions have made things more difficult for younger realtors, Corsie said.
Experienced realtors can rely on referrals from previous clients and a deep list of contacts. Younger realtors starting out have to build up those contacts through promotional materials, open houses, and face-to-face contacts.
“Meeting people face-to-face is a huge part of the business,” he said.
With open houses and door knocking essentially impossible, the last two months have seen a lot of young realtors without work. He’s hopeful that will change as the market picks up.
“Realtors and consumers deserve to be congratulated,” said FVREB president Chris Shields. “It’s not easy to adapt quickly to physical distancing, virtual tools and strict personal safety protocols and yet we’re seeing more and more transactions happening daily as we all get more comfortable and confident with the new normal.”