The price of homes in Langley is on the upswing and the number of homes changing hands is up sharply from last year, despite the ongoing pandemic. (Langley Advance Times files)

Real estate sales spike in Langley in July

People are busy buying and selling properties again

Despite high unemployment and the COVID-19 pandemic, Langley real estate saw solid sales in July.

Local realtor Matthew Rufh said things are still bouncing back from the slow month in which sales tanked during the late-March to mid-April lockdown.

“We didn’t start picking up until mid-April,” Rufh said.

But by May, numbers were increasing sharply, and July saw them keep going up.

Condo sales saw the biggest jump year-over-year in Langley, according to Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) statistics.

In July, 119 condos changed hands, an increase of 112.5 per cent from the 56 that sold in the same month last year.

Detached house sales were also up, with 129 sales, a 34.4 per cent increase from the 96 that sold last year.

Townhouse sales were up to 132, from 95 last year, a 38.9 per cent increase.

Prices for houses and townhouses were up from a year ago.

In July 2019, at the tail end of a real estate downturn, a detached house in Langley was selling for a benchmark price of $983,100. A benchmark price is the price the FVREB calculates is paid for a “typical” detached home.

That benchmark price is now up eight per cent, to just over $1 million. The average price has also risen by almost exactly the same amount, 8.1 per cent.

Condos saw a divergence in the changes of the benchmark and the average price.

A benchmark Langley condo in July sold for $399,100, up 3.6 per cent from last year.

The average sale price for all condos was almost identical, at $396,761, but that was down by 13.9 per cent from last year’s average of $461,047.

As for why the sales are still so strong despite the economic damage done by COVID-19, Rufh said it doesn’t seem to be any one cause that’s driving the current hot market in real estate.

“There was no specific demographic that was buying or selling property,” he said.

Extremely low interest rates, slashed at the start of the pandemic, may also be a factor.

One area of particular interest by buyers seems to be detached homes between $900,000 and $1.3 million, with a secondary suite.

People who bought townhouses some years ago and are looking to move up to a house want a place with a “mortgage helper,” Rufh said. A rental suite can carry $150,000 to $200,000 of the mortgage.

There has also been interest in homes with offices, since so many people have or still are working from home instead of heading into the office.

But it doesn’t seem to be a deal breaker – buyers are happy to set up in a kitchen or spare bedroom, said Rufh.

Right now, Rufh expects the current wave might level out through the autumn, but he’s already seeing increased interest in people moving to B.C. from other provinces because of how well this region handled the coronavirus pandemic.

Across the region covered by the FVREB, July wasn’t just a good month, it saw the second-highest number of property sales ever, according to the group’s statistics.

Langley

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