Real estate in British Columbia: an overall 20,2% increase in prices despite a full year of Covid

Alexandre Desoutter Alexandre Desoutter  updated on 2021-04-28

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A 20,2% increase in real estate in British Columbia

20,2%

…is average the increase in real estate prices in British Columbia from March 2020 to March 2021

37,2%

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

$1,12 million

…is the average price for a real estate transaction in March 2021 in the Greater Vancouver area

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 20,2% between March 2020 and March 2021 – even if that is slower than in the rest of the country (+31,6% across the whole Canadian territory over the same period), this number still represents an important increase.

Now the question is : Why ? Indeed, one can wonder why prices don’t stop to go up when the country, as the rest of the world, is currently going through an important crisis due to the pandemic Some reasons can be put forward for this growth in real estate prices to continue despite of the difficult circumstances:

  • Demand has accumulated during lockdowns, while transactions were blocked
  • Ultra-low interest rates still proposed by banks
  • People seems to be more eager to invest in housing after lockdowns.

Are BC rural areas the new place to invest for realtors ?

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

  • With a 37,2% growth in real estate prices over the 12 past months, South Okanagan is the BC location where the housing market is growing the fastest all across the province. There, the median real estate transaction price reached $613,806 in March 2021
  • Then follow South Peace River (+34,7%) and BC Northern (+28,8%), where the median real estate transaction price reached $328,743 and $374,433 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 Valley (n°2, with an average real estate transaction price of $981,200 in March 2021) and Victoria (n°3, $765,300) remain on top of the most expensive locations in BC. Despite prices already at exceptional levels, the growth of real estate prices still continues : respectively 16,00% and 7,30%.

We used to think that the housing market could soon reach its maximum, but it seems that real estate is not on its decline.

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 already passed the symbolic threshold of $1 million in October 2020.

The price didn’t stop to grow after that, and at the end of March 2021 the median real prices estate reached $1,123,300. Indeed, Vancouver is more than ever the most expensive city for housing in Canada – as shows the table below. Between March 2020 and March 2021, the housing market has grown an extra 9,4% in Greater Vancouver.

RanksCitiesProvinceMedian real estate prices (March 2021)Change rate (March 2020 – March 2021)
1Greater VancouverBC$1,123,3009,4%
2Greater TorontoON$1,100,00020,08%
3OttawaON$611,90029,1%
4Halifax-DartmouthNS$474,27134,4%
5MontréalQC$474,00022,4%
6CalgaryAL$436,8006,2%
7EdmontonAL$330,2004,4%
8SaskatoonSK$314,3008,2%
9WinnipegMB$306,80012,1%
10Quebec CityQC$285,20013,0%
11Saint John’sNL$265,6003,0%
12ReginaSK$258,8009,5%
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, Halifax-Dartmouth, with an impressive increase of 34,4% in median real estate prices between March 2020 and March 2021, now settles at the 4th of the most expensive city in Canada . Furthermore, Ottawa (+29,1%) and Toronto (+20,08) are also among the cities with the biggest and fastest increase in real estate prices over the past 12 months.

As Vancouver, Toronto just has passed the symbolic average of $1 million. Is the house market’s price in Toronto going to exceed the one in Vancouver during the next year ? It is likely that this will happen soon.

Where do BC’s real estate rank compare with the other Canadian 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 March 2021, with an average real estate transaction being in average $945,936. BC’s prices are more than $200,000 superior to the average real estate price in the whole country, and even $500,000 superior to real estates prices in Quebec !

Despite very high real estate prices BC, the average price of real estate in Ontario is growing really fast and is now closer from the BC’s average than it never has been before. As of March 2021, the difference is now less than $60,000.

RankProvincesAverage price of a real estate (March 2021)
1British-Columbia$945,936
2Ontario$890,035
Canada Global$716,828
3Yukon$497,187
4Alberta$443,000
5Northwest Territories$438,580
6Québec$435,516
7Nova-Scotia$362,988
8Manitoba$338,458
9Prince Edward Island$330,121
10Newfoundland and labrador$282,600
11Saskatchewan$278,400
12New-Brunswick$253,870
NuvanutNo 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 heaven for investors. 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 locations like South Okanagan, South Peace River or BC Northern are starting to enjoy the situation also, with impressive increases of their 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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