The New Fifth Dimension: Winter 2020 Real Estate Market Report
The Winter edition of Fifth Avenue’s ‘The Fifth Dimension’ is our 40th! For over 10 years we have been presenting a concise quarterly summary of the multifamily market. This Winter Edition chronicles the pandemic-influenced year that was 2020 and sets a prospective course for 2021.
Welcome to a new year and accelerated start thus far. A total of 3,791 new homes sales were recorded in the concluding quarter of 2020, which is 67 percent higher than the Fourth Quarter of 2019 even with COVID-19 a day-to-day reality. The total for the year represented nearly a 40 percent increase over 2019. Did any of you think that would happen a year ago? How about in March? In June?
Despite the “valley of market despair” being short-lived, I am confident that I am not the only one happy to put 2020 in the rear-view mirror. I always love the fresh start to a new year and this year I am particularly encouraged and optimistic. As a core leadership team member Jamie Squires, Senior Vice President & Managing Broker, astutely shared, “How fitting that this Lunar New Year is represented by the Ox, and in particular a metal Ox.”
I suppose this is more hopeful than the Year of the Rat sounded! I am told that the Rat represents first place, while the Ox represents second place. I don’t think 2021 is going to be second place to 2020 except perhaps with respect to annual sales growth and that is only because 2019 was a more significant low point with not even 8,000 total sales.
There is a story of the Jade Emperor who made the animals race for their place in the zodiac calendar. The Ox would have been first, but helped the Rat, who was deceitful in the end and stole first place leaving second place to the Ox. What makes the Ox special is that in the lore, the Rat’s deceitfulness did not bother the Ox, and he did not hold a grudge showing a true virtuous nature and good sportsmanship. The story shows how the Ox symbolizes self-sacrifice, humility, and honour. Those born in the year of the Ox are said to have these traits. These are admirable traits for our business and industry to observe and uphold especially as we address the realities of diminishing supply and renewed upward pressure on pricing.
We have all been humbled by the effects of Covid-19 that ran rampant last year. With the rollout of vaccines and with high hopes of putting the virus behind us this year we all need to remember to stay kind and calm, self-sacrificing, just like the Ox.
The Ox also represents good luck, harvest and fortune. I think we could all use some of that in light of the still challenging current reality locally, provincially, nationally, regionally and globally.
The Year of the Rat was a census year. As the latest statistics start to come out, we foresee 2021 as an active year in the real estate market in Canada, and for British Columbia in particular. Leading indicators and demand influencers point to a good harvest as local residents look for more space in a new environment where working from home has become the norm for many and may continue to be the norm to some degree for long after this story takes its place in history.
We also expect big things in 2021 outside of the Metro Vancouver in both the Okanagan and Vancouver Island with a focus on Kelowna and its immediate surrounding areas and Greater Victoria. The pace of sales in these markets to end the year and to start the year are certainly accelerated and point to a hyper-active 2021 especially as selective older and younger buyers continue an exodus to smaller centres only to be replaced by additional housing demand in Metro Vancouver and dare I say Canadians from coast to coast and abroad.
So off we head on another adventure. May we apply the knowledge and experience gained in 2020 in the spirit of the Ox and surpass the outcomes of the Year of the Rat. Eyes up; here we grow.