When Langley realtor Suki Bahi posted the price she had negotiated for a Walnut Grove house, her phone lit up.
“I had a dozen calls in a few minutes, saying ‘Suki, it’s a typo,’” she laughed.
“I said, it’s not a typo.”
Bahi, who is with Sutton Westcoast Realty, listed the detached strata unit in a 45-plus gated Langley community for $820,000, what she viewed as a fair price for a well-maintained two-bedroom, two bathroom single-level rancher built in 1995.
“It wasn’t even priced low,” Bahi maintained, but it touched off a flood of offers.
Bahi said almost all of the bidders appeared to be older people, some of whom didn’t want to downsize to a care home during the pandemic, and others who were residents of care homes, and wanted to move out.
“Seniors are seeking alternatives to care homes,” Bahi observed.
After 110 showings in five days, and 20 offers, on Monday, March 15, the 1,545 sq. ft. house sold for $1.32 million, $500,000 more than the asking price.
That would beat the previous record price for a detached strata unit in Langley, of $1.14 million, set in 2020, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB).
Bahi, who has 15 years experience in real estate, described it as “shocking,” in a good way.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Bahi told the Langley Advance Times.
Bahi has heard from other realtors that house sales are heating up, but nothing of that magnitude, calling it a “new benchmark” for Langley.
In February, the FVREB reported sales in the region were at an all-time high.
The association of over 3,600 real estate professionals who live and work in the North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford, and Mission reported a total of 2,815 sales on its Multiple Listing Service (MLS), an increase of 108 per cent over the February 2020 numbers, beating the previous February record of 2,387 sales set in 2016.
It was the sixth month in a row of record-setting sales in the region, and it looks like March will be another good month, FVREB president Chris Shields predicted.
“It looks like the market is continuing to be strong,” Shields commented.
“We’re just seeing unbelievable demand.”
In Langley, he said roughly three in four sales are condominiums and townhouses, with sales in that category up 140 per cent.
What’s fueling the demand is the combination of record-low interest rates and the response to the pandemic, Shields explained.
“It’s almost free money,” he said, and he is hearing that a number of buyers are people from pricey Lower Mainland communities like Vancouver who are selling and using the money they make to fund moves to less costly places, like Langley.
“You get way more bang for the buck in the Fraser,” Shields said.
As well, with more people working from home during the outbreak, “they don’t need to be in the city,” and that has produced a move eastward into the valley, Shields added.
His advice to would-be buyers during a time where house are selling very fast for large amounts, is to make sure they get professional advice by going through qualified realtors.
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