Even in the grip of a pandemic, B.C.’s real estate market continues to sizzle.

The BC Real Estate Association is reporting its strongest November on record.

Numbers released today show a 42.1 percent increase compared to November 2019.

This mirrors November stats from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board at the start of the month.

The island saw a 33 percent increase in sales, year over year. 

Board president Kevin Reid says that calling it a hot market is an understatement.

“The real estate market is very active, we’re seeing a lot of multiple offer situations and bidding wars, and buyers are still looking to acquire housing,” Reid said.

Graph supplied by the BC Real Estate Association.

He added that the second wave of the coronavirus is heightening the urgency to buy homes.

“Vancouver Island’s pretty fabulous,” he said. “That coupled with really low mortgage rates, that coupled with rising costs of housing and real estate… people understand that the sooner they act the better it is for them. There’s a lot of demand for quality housing.”

The biggest driver continues to supply and demand. Reid says there simply aren’t enough homes on the market.

“Historically, (with) record low levels of quality homes available, when new listings come up, buyers are acting on them rather quickly,” he said. “More homes on the market would be great, if the builders could get their product to market a little faster, that would be incredibly helpful.”

BCREA chief economist Brendon Ogmundson says while demand continues to be strong, the supply of listings has reached near-record lows in several parts of the province, with prices rising sharply as a result.

He added that home sales were once again “unseasonably strong in November with several markets setting records for the month.”

B.C.-wide, listings were down close to 14 percent year-over-year in November, which contributed to a 34.8 percent sales-to-active-listings ratio. 

Consequently, the provincial average price rose 9.3 per compared to this time last year with many markets seeing even stronger price growth. 

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 32.3 percent to $66.43 billion, compared with the same period in 2019. 

The average MLS residential price in BC set a record of $816,074, a 9.3 percent increase from $746,310 recorded the previous year.

Prices rising across Vancouver Island

Across Vancouver Island, the benchmark price of a single-family home hit $540,300 in November, up by four percent year over year. 

The benchmark price of an apartment reached $310,200, an increase of four percent, while the benchmark price of a townhouse rose by nine percent year over year, climbing to $441,600.

In Campbell River, the benchmark price of a single-family home hit $475,900, an increase of eight percent over last year.

In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $544,900, up by three percent from one year ago.

Duncan reported a benchmark price of $502,100, an increase of five percent from November 2019.

Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose by one percent, hitting $564,500, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by seven percent to $620,100.

The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $326,800, a marginal year-over-year increase.

For the North Island, the benchmark price rose to $237,300, an 18 percent increase over last year.