Latest data from BC Assessment paints a grim picture for young, hopeful buyers, experts say

The latest data from BC Assessment shows significant increases in property values across the Lower Mainland.

It’s another blow for young people hoping to buy, experts say.

The numbers, which are based on market values as of July 1, 2021, were released Sunday, showing increases hovering around 20 per cent and higher across the region for detached homes.

With the pandemic pushing people to look for larger, more spacious properties, MacPhail says it’s moved the market at disproportionate rates.

“People who own condos who are looking to move up to the townhouse, half duplex or detached, the condos have not gone up in the same way that the detached have gone up,” she said.

MacPhail says the pursuit of more space has pushed many people out of central Vancouver.

Back in November, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board said the average sale price for a home in the region was $1.4 million, a 36-per-cent increase from the same time the previous year.

With BC Assessment data only including up to July 1, MacPhail says it doesn’t paint the whole picture. She says for the totality of 2021, property value increases were probably around 30 per cent, on average.

“I have had a lot of very emotional conversations with clients this year,” she said.

UBC director of urban economics and real estate Thomas Davidoff says there’s another key factor likely contributing to the seismic rise in property values amid the pandemic.

“It led to stimulus and much lower interest rates, from a starting point of low interest rates,” Davidoff said.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Bank of Canada lowered its interest rate to a record-low 0.25 per cent, leading to a massive surge in real estate sales.

In November, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said home sales increased by almost 12 per cent from last year as demand continued to outpace supply.

“It’s not crazy to think that we’ll continue to see home prices and certainly rent prices increase and a rate greater than inflation,” Davidoff said.

BC Assessment is expected to release more data on Tuesday. 

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