Real estate in British Columbia: +12,3% on prices despite Covid-19 crisis

Alexandre Desoutter Alexandre Desoutter  updated on 2021-04-26

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A 12,3% increase in real estate in British Columbia

12.3%

…is average the increase in real estate prices in British Columbia from October 2019 to October 2020

21,8%

is the highest increase rate registered in BC (in Chlliwack) over the past 12 months

$1,04 million

…is the average price for a real estate transaction in October 2020 in Greater Vancouver


Despite an unprecedented economic crisis due to Covid-19 pandemic, BC’s housing market is not really slowing down. Indeed, British Columbia’s real estate prices significantly increased by 12,3% between October 2019 and October 2020 – even if that is slower than in the rest of the country (+15,2% across the whole Canadian territory over the same period).

Some reasons can be put forward for this growth in real estate prices to continue despite of the difficult circumstances:

  • Demand has accumulated during lockdown 1, while transactions were blocked
  • Ultra-low interest rates still proposed by banks
  • People more eager to invest in housing after the first lockdown

Are BC average cities the new eden for real estate investors?

The figures show that real estate prices are growing the most in average cities located at a fair distance from Vancouver :

  • With a 21,8% growth in real estate prices over the 12 past months, Chilliwack is the BC location where the housing market is growing the fastest. There, the median real estate transaction price reached $616,857 in October 2020
  • Then follow Powell River (+15,4%) and Kamloops (+15,1%), where the median real estate transaction price reached $468,075 and $481,650 respectively. This is still half the median price that is required in Greater Vancouver to buy a home.

Median real estate prices in British Columbia per location (Source : CREA)

In the immediate surroundings of Vancouver, Fraser (n°2, with an average real estate transaction price of $871,800 in October 2020) and Victoria (n°3, $719,300) remain on top of the most expensive locations in BC – although not growing very fast (respectively +6,5% and +3,5%). It therefore seems that the housing market could soon reach its maximum there, with prices already at exceptional levels.


Vancouver : more than ever on top of the Canadian most expensive cities

On top of the most expensive BC locations for real estate, we find Greater Vancouver, which is not a surprise, where the median real prices estate passed in October 2020 the symbolic threshold of $1 million! Between October 2019 and October 2020, the housing market has grown an extra 6% in Greater Vancouver, which is more than ever the most expensive city to live in Canada – as shows the table below.

RanksCitiesProvinceMedian real estate prices (Oct. 2020)Change rate (Oct. 2019 – Oct. 2020)
1Greater VancouverBC$1,045,1006,0%
2Greater TorontoON$897,70011,6%
3OttawaON$529,90022,0%
4CalgaryAL$419,6000,3%
5Halifax-DartmouthNS$388,41819,2%
6EdmontonAL$322,0001,5%
7SaskatoonSK$304,6004,6%
8WinnipegMB$289,4008,8%
9Saint John’sNL$271,0003,5%
10Quebec CityQC$263,3006,3%
Ranking of 10 Canadian main cities by median real estate prices (source: CREA)

However, while the real estate prices literally burnt in Vancouver over the last years, it is no more the city where prices are increasing the fastest. Indeed, Ottawa (+22% between October 2019 and October 2020), Halifax-Dartmourh (+19,2%) or even Toronto (+11,6%) see their housing market growing faster than the BC capital overs the past 12 months.

Where do BC’s real estate rank in comparison with other provinces?

British Columbia is known to be a very expensive province for real estate. Indeed, it is the most expensive in Canada when it comes to buying a house. As of September 2020, with an average real estate transaction being in average $801,039, BC’s prices are $ 60,000 superior to the average real estate price in Ontario – which ranks number 2 in Canada, and even $500,000 superior to real estates prices in the Prince Edward Island!

It is therefore logical to see BC’s real estate prices being superior to the national median real estate prices – $801,039 vs. $604,211, meaning a $197,000 median difference.

RangProvincesPrix moyen par transaction (sept 2020)
1British-Columbia$801,039
2Ontario$741,395
Canada (global)$604,211
3Yukon$476,141
4Northwest-Territories$434, 682
5Alberta$403,163
6Quebec$397,445
7Manitoba$308,689
8Nova-Scotia$303,599
9Prince Edward Island (PEI) $297,290
10Saskatchewan$293,743
11Newfoundland and labrador$278,500
12New-Brunswick$226,659
NunavutNo data
Ranking of Canadian provinces by average price of a real estate transaction (data: CREA)

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Antoine Fruchard, insurance expert and Chief Director at Hellosafe.ca

While the year 2020 already represents a dark period for BC and Canada as a whole, the real estate market seems more than ever a safe haven. Indeed, while the springtime lockdown has forced a majority of citizens to stay at home, an awareness of the importance of having a pleasant home in has born. In fact, far from falling, transactions continued to increase, in line with previous years. As for property prices, they are still continuing to grow in British Columbia, even if they already were at an unprecedented level. If the housing market still grows throughout those gloomy circumstances, what can stop it in the future ? It is still very hard to predict if the bubble will explode one day. Now, new cities like Chilliwack or Kamloops are starting to enjoy the situation, with ever-growing real estate prices.

Our methodology

Please note that the above-mentioned information is accurate at the date it is published. All our studies are based on reliable information sourced from public and privates organization. For further information on our editorial guidelines please click here.

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