Fierce bidding wars a new reality in Lower Mainland housing market
Published Saturday, February 6, 2016 6:30PM PST
Last Updated Sunday, February 7, 2016 11:32AM PST
A teardown Vancouver house that sparked international attention when it was listed for $2.398-million last week has sold for six-figures above the asking price – an extreme example of real estate bidding wars occurring across Metro Vancouver.
Realtors tell CTV News they are seeing an unprecedented spike in housing prices spreading from Vancouver to as far east as Langley.
“It’s been pretty amazing. I’d say since November we’ve seen prices going up $30,000 a month,” said Krista Marion, a realtor with Re/Max All Points selling.
“It’s like a wave. And the wave has come from Vancouver, to Burnaby, to Coquitlam, to PoCo. It took a while to get to Langley and Maple Ridge—but it is here.”
On Saturday, Marion held an open house for a Langley home listed for $815,000 – but she expects it to sell for more. Two other homes listed for about the same price recently sold for more than one million dollars each, she adds.
“Before the open house yesterday I showed [this house] to three foreign investors and they all pretty much wanted to buy it,” she told CTV News Saturday afternoon. “Everyone’s just trying to get into something.”
The concept of a fierce bidding war is a daunting reality check for buyers, including Daren and Lauren Sello. The couple is moving from North Vancouver to Langley with their two young children for the lower cost of living – but is concerned that is no longer a reality.
“[Prices have] gone up drastically, just in a few months. When we first started looking, we could get a lot more,” said Lauren. “It’s all relative, but it’s definitely going up everywhere. You’re not just seeing the big boom in places like the North Shore.”
Tsur Somerville, UBC Sauder School of Business, says the last year has been “somewhat crazy” in Vancouver’s housing market.
“When you start getting price increases in the Fraser Valley of 10 to 15 per cent, then you’re getting homes that looked affordable before starting to move out into that area where they’re not at all,” Somerville told CTV News. “People seeing real estate as a way to park cash has really amped up.”
As for the Sello’s, the couple is prepared to go into a bidding war – although the prospect makes them “really nervous.”
“When you fall in love with a house you have to realize how much you’re falling in love with it… It’s more competition, and that’s a bit harder,” Lauren said. “Everything’s a bit nerve wracking.”
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Sarah MacDonald