Residential real estate market rebounding well: long-time realtor

House prices, sales, and listings in Langley are moving on an upward trajectory

Property sales in the Fraser Valley – Langley included – have more than double in one month, as buyers and sellers return en masse to the housing market.

That’s being seen by local realtors, such as Cecelia Tinkle, who said consumers are returning, and so are sellers – although buyers are still outpacing the stock of single- and multi-family units on the selling block in Langley.

The Fraser Valley real estate market saw a resurgence in activity in June, as the industry and consumers are learning how to adapt to doing business during a pandemic, suggested Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) president Chris Shields.

FVREB processed a total of 1,718 sales on its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in June, an increase of 113.4 per cent compared to sales in May and an increase of 31.5 per cent compared to the 1,306 sales during June of last year.

Here in Langley, the numbers of sales jumped to 336 – that’s more than double last month’s 161 homes sold – a 161% increase. It’s even higher than June of 2019 (pre-COVID) where Langley reported only 209 homes sold.

It’s not a surprise to Tinkle, who has been selling in the Cloverdale through Abbotsford market since 1976, but has always been primarily focused on Langley.

She admits the market all but dried up when COVID hit, in mid- to late-March, and was slow to come back until the past few weeks.

RELATED – B.C.’s real estate market shows ‘encouraging signs of recovery’ in May: association

Now, Tinkle said, she’s “very busy” and optimistic about the real estate market.

Her focus lately has been single-family and townhomes, and she said those homes priced competitively are moving “pretty quickly.”

“It seems like there’s been a lot more action lately,” she said, noting that her office at Royal LePage Wolstencroft reported 15 new listings on Friday alone.

“There’s still not enough product for everybody,” she said, noting most consumers want a selection to pick through, and at present that’s still being built up – at least that’s what Tinkle has being seeing.

“It’s starting to pick up again, that’s for sure…,” clarifying that it’s not the boom in sales that local realtors were seeing 18 to 24 months ago, but it remains a strong and moving market.

The one obvious change she’s noted is the disappearance of looky-loos. Unable to hold open houses, realtors are now relying on more digital connections followed by viewing appointment with the more “serious buyers.”

As for price, the average price for a detached home in Langley is actually up 5.2 per cent compared to May, at $1.12 million, while a townhouse price dropped the same 5.2 per cent to $585,130 from last month. Apartments also increased in average price by 3.3 per cent to $411,368.

The price increases reported by the regional board are in keeping with what Tinkle is seeing, grateful there haven’t been any of the obvious dips – like those predicted in the national housing market.

READ MORE: CMHC expects uneven and uncertain recovery in country’s housing market

“I feel comfortable,” she said of the local market holding steady and actually climbing in the weeks to come. “It might not be a steep upward climb, but it’s definitely going well,” she said.

While the benchmark price for a Langley detached home have increased 6.3 per cent compared to last year, those who invested in their home a decade ago are seeing a much more significant return on their investment. The benchmark price has risen 88.1 per cent in the past 10 years. Similarly, townhouse values have risen 81.4 per cent in that same 10-year window, and condominiums are in the same ball park, having risen 80.9.

READ MORE: Real estate market sees ‘thaw’ in Langley

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Shields said. “June’s numbers clearly indicate that the market is functioning in this challenging new environment and we’re returning to more typical activity levels.”

He attributes a combination of factors.

“Consumers have told us that they respect and appreciate the safety protocols and use of technology we’ve implemented and they’re getting more comfortable with the new buying and selling process,” amid the coronavirus pandemic, Shields said.

But it’s more than that, he suggested.

“Obviously, very low interest rates, pent-up demand from the previous three months when the market was on hold, and the new CMHC rules that came into effect on July 1 making it harder to qualify for mortgage insurance.”

The Fraser Valley Board received 3,456 new listings in June, a 56.6 per cent increase compared to May’s intake of 2,207 new listings and a 23.0 per cent increase compared to June of last year. In Langley, however, the number of listings in June were still a little softer than May (368 compared to 371), and down from June 2019’s figures of 410 listings.

“We can’t predict how our market will continue to respond during COVID, but what we do know is that historically, over 80 per cent of Fraser Valley buyers move within our region and half purchase within their own community. People buy and sell for lifestyle reasons and currently, even during this uncertain time, conditions are favourable. The market is balanced, inventory is growing, and prices remain stable,” said the board president.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board is an association of 3,660 real estate professionals covering Langley, North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Abbotsford, and Mission.

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