BC Homes Sales Smash All December Records as Prices Breach $700K

Province posts highest number of residential unit transactions ever recorded for the month of December, propping up weaker Canadian markets

Home for sale sold winter December holidays

Home sales across BC smashed all December records, according to BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) figures issued January 15.

There was a total of 6,590 residential unit sales on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in December 2015 – a rise of 29.8 per cent from December the previous year.

BC’s total home sales dollar volume in December hit a record $4.62 billion for the month of December, up 55.4 per cent compared to the previous year.

This is attributable to both rising transaction volumes and the average price in the province climbing above the $700,000 threshold for the first time in BC, rising 19.7 per cent from December 2014 to $700,943.

“The 2015 housing market finished in dramatic fashion, with record demand for month of December,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA’s chief economist. “BC home sales breached the 100,000 unit threshold in 2015, and it was only the third time on record that this high watermark was achieved.”

Across 2015, BC residential sales dollar volumes rose to a record $65.3 billion over the year, up nearly 37 per cent from the previous year.

The average annual residential price reached a record $636,627 over the whole of 2015, up 12 per cent from 2014. A total of 102,517 residential unit sales were recorded, an increase of 22 per cent compared with 2014 and a figure eclipsed only by 2005 and 2007.

BC totals tend to mask the significant variations between different markets across the province, with the major southern regions seeing huge increases in sales and dollar volumes, and some of the smaller regions seeing declines in transaction and dollar volumes, especially in the north and Interior of the province.

Of the larger markets, the largest increase in sales was again recorded in the Fraser Valley, where home sales climbed 33.5 per cent from December 2014. Greater Vancouver and Chilliwack remained in second and third spots for transaction growth, up 28.1 and 25.6 per cent respectively.

Unlike previous months, at a massive 47 per cent, the Fraser Valley’s sales-to-active-listings ratio eclipsed even that of Greater Vancouver, taking that region deepest into sellers' market territory.

Across the whole of Canada, the story was relatively moderate, with the softening markets in resource-dependent provinces pulling down the overall sales activity rise, according to Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) figures also released January 15.

Total sales rose 10 per cent on a year-over-year basis in December to. CREA reported that sales activity was up compared with December 2014 in about 60 per cent of all local markets, led by BC’s Lower Mainland.

The national average sale price rose 12 per cent on a year-over-year basis in December. However, excluding Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, it increased by 5.4 per cent.

“December mirrored the main themes of 2015, with strong sales activity and price growth across much of British Columbia and Ontario offsetting declines in activity among oil producing regions,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.

“The recent decline and uncertain outlook for oil prices means that housing market prospects are unlikely to improve in the near term in regions where job market prospects are tied to oil production.”

To view BCREA's December report, including a full breakdown by region, click here.