Looking Back on 2020 and Looking Ahead to 2021
Looking ahead to our next edition of the Fifth Avenue’s complimentary, quarterly, new multifamily Metro Vancouver market report, The Fifth Dimension, I realized this will be our 40th. For over a decade now, we have been sharing facts and opinions on the market with consumers, realtors and developers.
Our concluding section of each edition is entitled “Looking Back & Ahead.” In this section, we share our most recent projections – what we got right and what we didn’t – and outline what we expect to see in the future. Now seems like a good time to look ahead to 2021 and look back on 2020.
Looking back on the outset of 2020, I recall our plans to celebrate Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Limited (Fifth Avenue)’s 40th anniversary with a staff and client reunion. As the global pandemic became 2020’s grand narrative in late winter/early spring, our team quickly adapted, shelving the majority of our plans, and together with our developer partner/clients deferring launches to wait and see what would transpire.
Our initial projections for 2020 included a recovery from 2019 (you may recall, this was the lowest annual total number of sales in over a decade) and a quick start to the year, with 2,500+ units sold First Quarter result. The almost occurred, even with the March lockdown. We were also quoted at that time as saying “…there are likely to be ups and downs in 2020,” and we forewarned greater volatility. That almost prophetic now.
Looking back, we were astonished at how quickly the market came to a halt and even more surprised at the acceleration of both the re-sale and new multi-family markets through summer and into fall. The re-sale market recovered, to exceed year prior results in many regards, and the new multi-family market followed suit.
Now looking ahead to 2021, we do so with both optimism and caution. There is still much to celebrate about life and to be grateful for. There are also social, economic and market realities to be considered and navigated. I for one, will not bet against the strength of the underlying fundamentals of this market area. This market rebounded from 2008 faster than nearly any other world market. Of course, this is not 2008, 2020 has far broader implications.
We do expect a slower start to 2021, as concerns about the state of the pandemic continue, yet as the hope of a vaccine trends toward a reality. We do expect sales growth in areas to the east of the more expensive and central areas within the Metro area, and places that offer product in desirable and accessible locations including: concrete offerings in Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam and Surrey City Centre near Skytrain; wood frame offerings in Burnaby, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Surrey, North Delta, Langley, Maple Ridge and Abbotsford; and townhomes throughout all suburban market areas. Townhome absorptions lead the way out of the downturn and represented nearly 50 percent of all sales in a recent 90-day period. This will continue, provided needed supply is introduced.
Finally, I consider 2021 a year of return. A return to more social and market normalcy. Here’s hoping this time next year my hindsight was 20/20.
Fifth Avenue is a full service, suburban market focussed, residential real estate sales and project marketing organization. We are proud to celebrate serving the new multifamily development community throughout BC for 40 years. As a part of celebrating our 40th anniversary, we have unveiled a brand re-fresh. We look forward to the day when we can safely hold a fun-filled staff and client reunion, in person. In the meantime, check out FifthAve.ca.