Vancouver real estate
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Strong demand for relatively few listings will keep driving up house prices, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver predicts

Here’s yet more evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic has only added extra fuel to Vancouver’s red-hot housing market.

Home sales for the Metro Vancouver region finished 2021 at an all-time high of 43,999, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports. To put things in perspective, that increase is a 42.2-percent jump over the 30,944 tally for 2020 and a 73.6-percent surge from the 25,351 total in 2019.

Last year’s number is also 4 percent higher than the previous record of 42,326 home sales back in 2015—and 33.4 percent above the 10-year average.

“Home has been a focus for residents throughout the pandemic,” said REBGV economist Keith Stewart in a release. “With low interest rates, increased household savings, more flexible work arrangements and higher home prices than ever before, Metro Vancouverites, in record numbers, are assessing their housing needs and options.”

READ MORE: 2021 Real Estate Report: With a push from COVID, the B.C. property market is reinventing itself

Meanwhile, Metro Vancouver homes available on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) hit 62,265 last year, up 14.7 percent from 2020 and 11 percent over the 10-year average.

Listings have failed to keep pace with demand, Stewart noted. Throughout the region, there are now just 5,236 homes listed for sale on MLS—a drop of 38.7 percent and 26.7 percent, respectively, from December and November.

“This is the lowest level we’ve seen in more than 30 years,” Stewart said. “With demand at record levels, residents shouldn’t expect home price growth to relent until there’s a more adequate supply of housing available to purchase.”

On that note, the MLS Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price for Metro Vancouver finished 2021 at $1,230,200, up 17.3 percent from December 2020. Prices for detached homes and townhomes rose 22 percent last year, versus 12.8 percent for apartments.

By community, the top three gainers for benchmark prices in 2021: Maple Ridge (up 34.7 percent), Pitt Meadows (29.8 percent) and Whistler (27.8 percent).