Low Inventory Continues to Write its Own Sales Story

VIREB NANAIMO, BC – The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that in April 2017, 478 single-family properties sold on the MLS® System compared to 659 last April, a decrease of 27 per cent.Month over month, sales edged slightly lower from March.

Inventory of single-family homes declined by 33 per cent from April 2016, with 1,122 active listings available last month compared to 1,694 one year ago. Additional listings have entered the market since VIREB hit its historic inventory low of 859 in December 2016. Active listings rose to 893 in January, 949 in February, and 1,023 in March. However, properties are being snapped up almost as soon as they hit the market.

“Properly priced single-family homes between $400,000 and $600,000 rarely last more than 48 hours and usually generate multiple offers, with many selling above list price,” says Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President.

The real estate market on Vancouver Island has been telling the same story for several months now, notes Stromar.

“Limited supply, combined with high demand, means it has been a sellers’ market for months. Sellers are in the drivers’ seat, and the lack of inventory is frustrating buyers and REALTORS® alike,”says Stromar. “That said, even though we are in a sellers’ market, homeowners still need to price their home correctly. Houses can sit unsold for months if they are priced higher than the market will bear.”

She adds that sellers are not immune to the frustration that buyers are experiencing because it is hard to sell your home if you cannot find another property to buy. Still, homeowners reluctant to sell due to concerns of housing availability should make the most of this hot market.

“Real estate is cyclical, and consumers need to take advantage of these market conditions because they won’t last forever,” says Stromar. “When the market does correct itself – and it always does – it usually happens without warning.”

She adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market.

“This kind of market can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help clarify the situation,” says Stromar. “We’re also equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help buyers formulate winning offers and ensure sellers receive maximum dollars for their home.”

In April 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $419,100, up 17.5 per cent from one year ago. Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 13 per cent in Duncan to 22 per cent in Nanaimo. The benchmark price of an apartment in April rose 28 per cent board-wide from the previous year, but the highest increase was in Campbell River, at 39 per cent. The townhouse market also strengthened in April, posting a 21 per cent increase board-wide.

The April 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $335,000, an increase of 18 per cent over April 2016. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $415,800, up 16 per cent from 2016. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $354,400, an increase of 13 per cent compared to April 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 22 per cent to $461,600 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 20 per cent to $477,700. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni hit $227,400, up 19 per cent from one year ago.

VIREB – Still a Seller’s Market

March 1, 2017 Despite Additional Inventory, the VIREB Area is Still a Sellers’ Market

WELCOME MARCH!

NANAIMO, BC – In February 2017, 347 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 406 last February, a decrease of 15 per cent.

Sales rose by 42 per cent from January 2017, which saw 245 sales. Inventory of single-family homes declined by 38 per cent from February 2016, with 949 active listings compared to 1,529 one year ago.However, the 949 available properties reflect a six per cent increase over January, an encouraging development since the lack of inventory continues to challenge consumers and REALTORS® in the VIREB area.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that strong economic fundamentals are fuelling housing demand throughout British Columbia, with the B.C. economy continuing to outpace the rest of Canada. Among other factors, increased population growth is a significant force driving the provincial housing market.

“In the first three-quarters of 2016, net migration to British Columbia hit 50,000 people,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Although most of those residents will end up on the Lower Mainland, the effects of this influx will inevitably trickle into other markets.”

Although BCREA expects the provincial economy to weaken somewhat this year, consumer confidence and job growth should continue to have a net positive effect on the housing market. After dipping in late 2016 and early 2017, overall sales activity in the province appears to be trending upwards again, and that is certainly happening on Vancouver Island.

In fact, sales in the VIREB area would no doubt be much higher if there were more properties available, says Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President.

“The Nanaimo market in February was busier than I’ve ever seen,” says Stromar. “Single-family homes in the $450,000 range are practically flying out the door, and multiple offers are the norm, not the exception.”

The VIREB area has been a sellers’ market for several months now, and Stromar encourages people to list their homes now.

“Real estate is cyclical, and consumers need to take advantage of these market conditions because they won’t last forever,” says Stromar.

She adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market. REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities and are equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help buyers formulate winning offers and help sellers receive maximum dollars for their home.

In February 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $403,100, up 18 per cent from one year ago. Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 14 per cent in Duncan and Port Alberni to 25 per cent in Nanaimo. The benchmark price of an apartment in February rose 22 per cent board-wide from the previous year, but the highest increases were seen in Parksville-Qualicum (24 per cent), the Comox Valley (26 per cent), and Campbell River (26 per cent). The townhouse market also strengthened in January, posting a 20 per cent increase board-wide.

The February 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $318,100, an increase of 17 per cent over February 2016. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $401,000, up 17 per cent from 2016. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $345,500, an increase of 14 per cent compared to February 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 25 per cent to $444,400 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 20 per cent to $454,100. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni stayed the same as in January but did rise by 14 per cent from one year ago.

Another Rule

 

A lot of people seem to have missed hearing about this one (maybe because it’s about taxes) but it could have negative consequences if you fail to pay attention.

 

On October 3, 2016, the Government announced an administrative change to Canada Revenue Agency’s reporting requirements for the sale of a principal residence.

When you sell your principal residence or when you are considered to have sold it, usually you do not have to report the sale on your income tax and benefit return and you do not have to pay tax on any gain from the sale. This is the case if you are eligible for the full income tax exemption (principal residence exemption) because the property was your principal residence for every year you owned it.

Starting with the 2016 tax year, generally due by late April 2017, you will be required to report basic information (date of acquisition, proceeds of disposition and description of the property) on your income tax and benefit return when you sell your principal residence to claim the full principal residence exemption.

The Potential Implications

If you fail to report the sale of a residence in 2016 or later years, you won’t be entitled to the PRE. If you forget to designate a property as your principal residence in the year of sale (for 2016 and later years), you should ask CRA to amend your tax return for that year. CRA will often accept a late designation but penalties could apply (the penalty could be $100 for each complete month the designation is late, or $8,000, whichever is less).  For further information check out the following links:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/bdgt/2016/qa11-eng.html

http://www.thor.ca/blog/2016/10/new-tax-reporting-rules-for-principal-residence-sales/

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.”

Inventory Challenges Continue to Moderate Sales Activity

Inventory Challenges Continue to Moderate Sales Activity

Loving Vancouver Island

 

NANAIMO, BC – In January 2017, 245 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 258 last January, a decrease of five per cent.

Sales were virtually unchanged from December, which saw 243 sales. VIREB attributes this static sales activity to inventory challenges rather than insufficient demand. Active listings of single-family homes did increase by four per cent in January to 893 from December’s 852, which typically happens at the beginning of the year, with 389 properties coming onto the market last month. However, inventory is still down by 38 per cent from one year ago, a significant reduction from the 1,431 available properties in January 2016.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that housing demand in the VIREB area and throughout British Columbia is being driven by a provincial economy that continues to outperform the rest of Canada.

Although BCREA does expect B.C.’s economy to weaken somewhat this year, strong job and population growth will continue to have a net positive effect on the housing market. “Although BCREA anticipates that less robust economic conditions combined with government policy constraints will slow housing demand by more than 15 per cent in 2017, unit sales should remain well above the 10-year average of 85,000,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Sales in the VIREB area this year will likely trend lower than in 2016, but this is merely the market returning to more normal levels from last year’s unprecedented sales activity.”

Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President, reaffirms that housing sales in the VIREB area would be much higher if there were more homes available. “We’ve been in a sellers’ market for several months now, with buyers snapping up available properties and multiple offers a common occurrence,” says Stromar. “But real estate is cyclical, and these conditions won’t last forever. If you’ve been thinking of selling, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of our current market situation.

” Stromar adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market. REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities and are equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help you develop a winning strategy for buying or selling a home.

In January 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $400,000, up 18 per cent from one year ago. Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 14 per cent in Duncan to 21 per cent in the Comox Valley and Nanaimo.

The benchmark price of an apartment rose 21 per cent board-wide from the previous year, but the highest increases were posted in Parksville-Qualicum (25 per cent), the Comox Valley (27 per cent), and Campbell River (28 per cent).

The townhouse market also strengthened in January, posting an 18 per cent increase board-wide and high double-digit increases in every zone, from 16 per cent in Nanaimo to 26 per cent in Parksville-Qualicum.

The January 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $311,900, an increase of 16 per cent over January 2016. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $400,400, up 21 per cent from 2016. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $348,000, an increase of 14 per cent compared to January 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 21 per cent to $434,100 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 18 per cent to $457,800. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni hit $216,100, up 16 per cent from one year ago.

2016 Was a Banner Year for Real Estate

2016 Was a Banner Year for Real Estate

NANAIMO, BC – Sales of single-family homes in December were lower than the previous month, reflecting seasonal market conditions and inventory challenges, but annual sales volume rose 24 per cent over 2015.

A total of 6,063 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in 2016, an increase of 24 per cent over the 4,885 sales recorded the previous year. VIREB’s housing market hit its peak in May, which saw 771 sales. The average sale price of a single-family home board wide increased by 13 per cent in 2016 to reach $404,695.

Inventory of single-family homes dipped to 859 in December, a historic low, down 17 per cent from November and 37 per cent from one year ago. This figure is the lowest recorded in the VIREB area since the board began tracking inventory in 1999.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) notes that housing demand throughout 2016 was driven by a provincial economy that outperformed the rest of the country. However, BCREA does expect the housing market to weaken somewhat this year.

“Although BCREA anticipates that less robust economic conditions combined with government policy constraints will slow housing demand by more than 15 per cent in 2017, unit sales should remain well above the 10-year average of 85,000,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Sales in the VIREB area this year will likely trend lower than in 2016, but this is merely the market returning to more normal levels from last year’s unprecedented sales activity.”

As she has stated in previous media releases, Margo Hoffman, 2016 VIREB President, reaffirms that housing sales in the VIREB area would be higher if there were more homes available. Seasonal market conditions can account for some of December’s decreased sales, but there are still plenty of buyers, and multiple offers are the norm when listings hit the market. “We’ve been in a sellers’ market for several months now, and buyers are snapping up available properties,” says Hoffman. “But homeowners need to realize these market conditions won’t last forever, so if you’ve been thinking of selling, it’s a perfect time to do so.”

Hoffman adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market. REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities and are equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help you develop a winning strategy for buying or selling a home.

In December 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $396,100, up 17 per cent from one year ago. Prices increased in every zone, ranging from nine per cent in Port Alberni to 20 per cent in Nanaimo.

The benchmark price of an apartment rose 20 per cent board-wide from the previous year, but the highest increases were posted in Parksville-Qualicum (25 per cent), the Comox Valley (26 per cent), and Campbell River (31 per cent).

The townhouse market also strengthened in December, posting high double-digit increases in every zone, from 16 per cent in Port Alberni to 20 per cent in Campbell River. The December 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $311,500, an increase of 17 per cent over December 2015. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $396,000, up 19 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $345,000, an increase of 14 per cent compared to December 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 20 per cent to $429,200 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 18 per cent to $453,800. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni hit $214,700, up nine per cent from one year ago.

Home Sales Cool in October & Inventor Dips Again

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 1, 2016 Home Sales Cool in October and Inventory Dips Again

NANAIMO, BC – In October 2016, 399 single-family homes sold on the MLS® System compared to 368 last October, an increase of eight per cent.Month over month, sales decreased by 24 per cent from September, which saw 528 unit sales. Reduced sales activity in October is likely caused by typical late-summer cooling and continuing inventory challenges.Active listings of single family homes dropped once again in October, dipping to 1,158, the lowest VIREB has seen since the board began tracking inventory levels in 1999.

Robust sales in the VIREB area and throughout much of B.C. continue to be driven by a combination of economic factors that are creating a sound foundation for housing sales.

“British Columbia’s GDP and employment growth have been above three per cent for three years now, and GDP is currently tracking at 3.5 per cent,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Population growth is also a significant factor, with over 8,000 people migrating to B.C. from other parts of Canada in the second quarter of 2016.”

There has been a moderating trend in activity and prices occurring in Vancouver and on the Lower Mainland, with Vancouver experiencing three consecutive months of flat sales in August, September, and October. Yet Vancouver’s housing prices are still high, so many of B.C.’s new residents are settling down in the Fraser Valley or on Vancouver Island.

BCREA cannot yet determine whether the Foreign Buyer Tax imposed at the beginning of August has adversely affected the Vancouver market, nor whether the new housing rules introduced by the Government of Canada in October will have an impact. Thus far, however, there appears to be no negative fallout from any of these factors in the VIREB market. Foreign buyers are not turning to Vancouver Island instead of the Lower Mainland and are not the impetus behind VIREB’s robust housing market. As well, the federal government’s new rules that standardize eligibility criteria for high-ratio and low-ratio insured mortgages will have a greater impact on buyers purchasing homes in the $500,000-plus range. VIREB’s benchmark prices on all property types are below that mark.

Rather, the biggest challenge for the VIREB area continues to be a lack of inventory. Sales would be higher if there were were homes available, and buyer frustration is growing. Jason Finlayson, 2016 VIREB Past President, is encouraging potential home sellers to take advantage of these market conditions.

“Sellers are in the driver’s seat right now, but consumers need to realize that sellers’ markets don’t last forever,” says Finlayson. “If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, now is the time.”

Finlayson adds that in a competitive housing market, connecting with a local REALTOR® is crucial. They have specialized knowledge of their communities and are equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help you develop a winning strategy for buying or selling a home.

In October 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $393,700, up 16 per cent from one year ago. Prices increased in every zone, ranging from around 13 per cent in Campbell River and Port Alberni to 19 per cent in Nanaimo and the Parksville-Qualicum area. The benchmark price of an apartment rose approximately 18 per cent board-wide, with ParksvilleQualicum reporting an increase of 33 per cent. The townhouse market also strengthened, posting a 12 per cent increase boardwide.

The October 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $308,900, an increase of 13 per cent over October 2015. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $398,500, up 17 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $342,100, an increase of 13 per cent compared to October 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 19 per cent to $428,500 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 19 per cent as well to $449,400. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni hit $215,700, up 13 per cent from one year ago. 

Would you like to know if  YOUR HOME falls into these categories? Give us a call and we’ll provide you with a no obligation consultation and a FREE evaluation.

VIREB – Inventory Levels Drop to Historic Low

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 1, 2016 Inventory Levels Drop to Historic Low in August

NANAIMO, BC – Inventory levels of single-family homes in the VIREB area dropped to a historic low in August, dipping to 1,394, a 38 per cent decrease from one year ago and down from July’s 1,577 available listings. The last time inventory was this low occurred in 2005 when the supply of single-family homes for sale dropped to 1,629 units. VIREB began tracking inventory levels in 1999.

Other market segments are also seeing reduced inventory. Active listings of apartments dropped to 391 last month from 641 in August 2015, a decrease of 39 per cent. Townhouse inventory declined by 32 per cent from one year ago.

In August 2016, 624 single-family homes sold on the MLS® System compared to 439 last August, an increase of 42 per cent. Month over month, sales of single-family homes rose slightly from July, which saw 605 unit sales. Apartment sales also increased significantly from one year ago, with 118 units selling last month, an 87 per cent increase from the 63 units sold in August 2015. More townhouses sold last month as well: 63 compared to 54 in August 2015, an increase of 17 per cent.

Robust housing sales throughout the province, particularly in the southern half, continue to be driven by a solid economic foundation consisting of consumer confidence, strong retail sales, and employment growth of three per cent. With GDP sitting at 3.5 per cent, British Columbia’s economy is leading the country.

Although a moderating trend in activity and prices is occurring in the Vancouver market, that slowdown is not affecting the VIREB area thus far. Market conditions in Vancouver and throughout the Lower Mainland appear to be experiencing some backlash from the Foreign Buyer Tax introduced at the beginning of August, although prices have not dropped significantly. Sales have taken a hit, yet it is too early to determine whether this is a temporary cooling in sales activity or indicative of a larger trend.

“Sales are beginning to normalize in the Vancouver marketplace, but we don’t anticipate a significant correction any time soon,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “The typical moderating trend seen after months of hectic activity might have been accelerated slightly by the Foreign Buyer Tax, but we just don’t know yet. We can predict many things, but not the psychology of consumers.”

Limited inventory continues to be a challenge for buyers and REALTORS® in the VIREB area, with multiple offers on accurately priced homes continuing to be the norm rather than the exception. Margo Hoffman, 2016 VIREB President, is encouraging potential home sellers to take advantage of these market conditions.

“With the number of single-family homes for sale dropping to 1,394 last month, a historic low, it’s clear that home sellers are in the driver’s seat,” says Hoffman. “But sellers’ markets don’t last forever, so if you’re thinking of selling your home, now is the time.”

Hoffman adds that in a competitive housing market, connecting with a local REALTOR® is crucial to ensure you develop a winning strategy for buying or selling your home.

In August 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $384,000, up 13.23 per cent from one year ago. Prices increased in every zone, ranging from nine per cent in Port Alberni to 16 per cent in Nanaimo and 17 per cent in the Parksville-Qualicum area. The benchmark price of an apartment rose approximately 15 per cent board-wide, with Duncan and Parksville-Qualicum reporting 25 and 23 per cent increases, respectively. The townhouse market also strengthened, as seen in the benchmark price increasing by 10.63 per cent.

The August 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $304,200, an increase of 10.41 per cent over August 2015. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $380,200, up 12 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $333,800, an increase of 11.30 per cent compared to August 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 15.80 per cent to $413,500 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 17 per cent to $443,500. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $209,500, up nine per cent from one year ag

VIREB Market Update August 2016

August 2, 2016 Home Sales a Bit Cooler in July But Significantly Higher Than Last Year

NANAIMO, BC – Home sales in the VIREB area cooled somewhat last month but posted a 19 per cent increase over July 2015.

In July 2016, 608 single-family homes sold on the MLS® System compared to 512 last July. Month over month, sales decreased by 15 per cent from the 712 sales processed in June 2016. Last month’s active listings for single-family homes totalled 1,577, down 34 per cent from the 2,391 reported in July 2015 and beating June’s figure of 1,621.

This is a historic low for VIREB, which began tracking inventory levels in 1999. The last time inventory was this low occurred in 2005 when the number of single-family homes for sale dropped to 1,629.

Economic factors fueling the provincial housing market are strong consumer confidence, robust retail sales, and high employment growth. With GDP sitting at 3.5 per cent, British Columbia’s economy continues to lead the country. Concerning the new Foreign Buyer Tax that takes effect today, Muir says it is too early to know whether it will affect home prices on the Lower Mainland or spill over into other parts of the province.

“The housing market is usually slower in the summer months, but we believe that sales might be beginning to normalize,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “If so, that would allow inventory to build up and ease pricing pressure a bit.”

Margo Hoffman, 2016 VIREB President, agrees that the housing market typically cools during the summer, and this trend likely accounts for July’s lower sales figures. However, limited inventory continues to be a challenge for buyers and REALTORS®.

“Although we’re in a seller’s market, homeowners are holding back because they’re worried they won’t find another home to purchase,” says Hoffman. “We’re beginning to see more inventory, but buyers snap up available properties quickly.”

Low inventory is also contributing to rising benchmark prices for single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments. Despite those increases, however, the Vancouver Island housing market continues to be affordable compared to the Lower Mainland and Victoria.

“Home buyers in the VIREB area have a variety of price points as options,” adds Hoffman. “The benchmark price of a singlefamily home ranges from a low of $209,600 in Port Alberni to a high of $443,800 in the Parksville-Qualicum area, so there is a price to suit almost everyone.”

Hoffman agrees that at the moment, there is no way to say whether the Foreign Buyer Tax will affect home prices in the VIREB area. For now, the housing market remains competitive, so connecting with a local REALTOR® is crucial to ensure you develop a winning strategy for buying or selling your home.

In July 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $379,900, up just under 12 per cent from one year ago. The benchmark price of an apartment rose by 9.77 per cent to hit $207,900 while the benchmark price of a townhouse increased to $277,900, up just over 10 per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. The average price of a single-family home last month was $409,816, an increase of 12 per cent over July 2015.

The July 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $301,400, an increase of 5.57 per cent over July 2015. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $371,000, up 10.68 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $326,700, an increase of just over nine per cent compared to July 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 15.46 per cent to $409,700 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 17 per cent to $443,800. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $209,600, up 7.86 per cent from one year ago.

Hot Housing Market Puts Sellers in Driver’s Seat

VIREB – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 1, 2016 Hot Housing Market Puts Home Sellers in Driver’s Seat

 

NANAIMO, BC – Home sellers are in the driver’s seat throughout the VIREB area as buyers compete for available listings.

In May 2016, 771 single-family homes sold on the MLS® System compared to 527 last May, an increase of 46 per cent. Month over month, sales were up by 17 per cent from the 660 sales processed in April 2016. Last month’s active listings totalled 1,684, down 32 per cent from the 2,507 reported in May 2015.

Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist, states that retail sales growth in the double digits reflects high levels of consumer confidence, which is spilling over into real estate. Tourism on Vancouver Island also posted a huge spike recently, which aids local economic conditions. However, although housing demand is extraordinarily high, its foundation is solidly based on a healthy GDP and rising population growth.

“British Columbia’s GDP is at three per cent, and employment growth rose around 3.5 per cent in the first four months of 2016,” says Muir. “Real estate is benefiting from that growth, with sales in the entire southern half of the province at record or near-record levels.”

Janice Stromar, VIREB 2016 President-Elect, confirms that the VIREB housing market is recording record sales in many areas. Multiple offers, particularly on single-family homes, are the norm rather than the exception. Low inventory levels are still a major challenge for REALTORS® and buyers for a variety of reasons.

“This is a fantastic time to sell, but some homeowners have been holding back because they love their home or are worried they won’t find another property to buy,” says Stromar. “More houses are now coming onto the market, but buyers snap them up so quickly, we still don’t have enough inventory to satisfy the demand.”

Despite increases in both the benchmark and average prices over the past year, the Vancouver Island housing market is still an affordable alternative to Victoria and Lower Mainland communities.

“Although retirees frequently choose to migrate to Vancouver Island, we are seeing younger professionals trading in their homes on the Lower Mainland for a significantly nicer property here,” says Stromar. “I wouldn’t call it a trend, but it’s becoming more common if people can find jobs on the Island or telecommute to jobs on the Lower Mainland all or part of the time.”

Stromar adds that in a competitive housing market, connecting with a local REALTOR® is crucial to ensure you develop a winning strategy for buying or selling your home.

In May 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $364,500, up 9.36 per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. The benchmark price of townhouses and apartments also increased in nearly every market. The average MLS® price of a single-family home in May was $411,458, a 13 per cent increase from May 2015.

The May 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $287,500, a 3.27 per cent increase over 2015. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $360,400, up 11.32 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $317,300, an increase of 6.71 per cent over the same month in 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 10.82 per cent to $389,800 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 14.31 per cent to $417,900. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $197,300, unchanged from one year ago.

 

Buyer Demand Continues to Outpace Supply in the VIREB Area

May 2, 2016 Buyer Demand Continues to Outpace Supply in the VIREB Area

NANAIMO, BC – The VIREB housing market is firmly in seller’s territory, with buyer demand continuing to outpace supply in most areas.

 

In April 2016, 662 single-family homes sold on the MLS® System compared to 449 last April, an increase of 47 per cent. Month over month, sales were up by 27 per cent from the 520 sales processed in March 2016. Last month’s active listings totalled 1,697, down 26 per cent from the 2,305 reported in April 2015.

Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist, states that the hot housing market continues to be fuelled by strong consumer demand. Buyers are aggressively pursuing home purchases, with multiple offers the norm rather than the exception throughout British Columbia.

Real estate boards in the Lower Mainland, Chilliwack, Kamloops, the Okanagan, Victoria, and Vancouver Island are all reporting robust market conditions, with some areas posting record-breaking sales. Underpinning B.C.’s vibrant economy and strong demand for housing is employment growth of three per cent, the highest in Canada.

“Although these market conditions cannot continue indefinitely, there is just no sign of any slowdown,” says Muir. “Whether we’ll be reporting the same level of housing activity come September remains to be seen.”

VIREB President Margo Hoffman says that REALTORS® are busier than they have been in years, and multiple offers – particularly on single-family homes – are everyday occurrences. As stated in previous media releases, lack of inventory continues to be the major challenge for REALTORS® and buyers.

“The thing to remember about busy markets like we’re seeing is that they never last forever,” says Hoffman. “If homeowners are thinking of selling, this is an ideal time to do so.

” Although the benchmark and average prices have risen over the past year, Hoffman notes that the VIREB market is still very affordable compared to Victoria and Lower Mainland communities. Whether you are a buyer or seller, Hoffman also adds that a REALTOR® is a vital partner in the sales process to ensure you price your home appropriately for selling and pay the right price when buying.

In April 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $356,700, up 8.36 per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. The benchmark price of townhouses and apartments also increased in nearly every market. The average MLS® price of a single-family home in April was $396,165, a nine per cent increase from April 2015.

The April 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $284,600, a 4.09 per cent increase over 2015. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $357,700, up 10.34 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $313,400, an increase of 6.65 per cent over the same month in 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 9.08 per cent to $379,300 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 10.69 per cent to $399,500. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $191,600, an increase of 1.42 per cent over April 2015