VANCOUVER -- Last month's residential home sales were the highest ever recorded in a single month.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said in a report Friday March sales were 126 per cent higher than in the same month in 2020.

The board said a total of 5,708 homes were sold last month, compared to 2,524 sales the previous March, when the pandemic was just beginning.

The March 2021 number is also 53 per cent higher than the total of homes sold this February (3,727).

While demand in urban areas is often not a surprise, the board says last month demand was most pronounced in rural areas and suburbs.

South Delta saw the largest increase with sales 196 per cent higher than in March 2021. This is the largest increase in all of Metro Vancouver, according to the REBGV.

Whistler and Squamish, too, saw a greater demand, with 195 and 189 per cent more sales this March than last.

The board said detached homes were significantly (130 per cent) more popular this March than in the same month in 2020, while apartment sales were up 129 per cent year-over-year, and attached home sales up 112 per cent.

The board also looked at what homes are selling for.

The benchmark – a calculation based on the average home size, age and other factors – for a detached home in Metro Vancouver has reached $1.7 million, up about 18 per cent where it stood in March 2020.

Last month's benchmark for apartments or condos is $715,800, while attached homes have the benchmark of $872,200.

These benchmarks are for the entire region, and vary significantly when looking at more specific locations.

For example, the benchmark for a condo in West Vancouver is $1.143 million, while it's just $403,900 in Maple Ridge.

Would-be buyers of the standard townhouse in Vancouver West can expect to pay $1,188,300, but that benchmark is cut almost in half looking in Pitt Meadows.

And according to the REBGV, single-family detached homes go for about $1.5 million when looking at all of the Lower Mainland, but can still be bought for $765,000 on the Sunshine Coast. In West Vancouver and Vancouver West, buyers are likely to pay more than $3 million, based on the latest figured from the board.

A stronger economy, historically low interest rates and high demand for more space are being credited for the latest market gains.

Here's the full report.