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

2016 Buyer Demand Outpacing Supply in the VIREB Area

NANAIMO, BC – The Vancouver Island real estate market set a brisk pace in March, with buyer demand outpacing supply in most areas.

In March 2016, 520 single-family homes sold compared to 420 last March, an increase of 24 per cent. Month over month, sales were up by 29 per cent from the 406 sales processed in February 2016. Last month’s active listings totalled 1,599, down 26 per cent from the 2,167 reported in March 2015.

BCREA Economist Brendon Ogmundson states that the robust market conditions occurring throughout the province are reflective of British Columbia’s vibrant economy. The provincial economy is the strongest in Canada, with GDP growth expected to be around three per cent this year. Extremely strong construction activity, surging retail sales, and the highest job growth in three years are key economic drivers fuelling the bustling real estate market.

“Although we’ve been saying that the housing market can’t continue at this pace indefinitely, there are no signs that point to a slowdown,” says Ogmundson. Ogmundson notes that although single-family homes are still the most popular property type, changing demographics could shift that trend in the next decade.

“Over the next ten years, there will be around 200,000 people between the ages of 20 and 49 in the province, so we expect that demand for townhouses and condominiums will increase,” says Ogmundson.

VIREB President Margo Hoffman reports that it has been several years since REALTORS® have been this busy, but low inventory continues to be a major challenge for REALTORS® and home buyers in the VIREB area. Multiple offers, particularly on single-family homes, are common occurrences. “Our market is in definite seller’s territory, and we just don’t have enough inventory,” says Hoffman. “Homeowners may be reluctant to sell because they love their home and where they live. However, if you’ve been thinking of selling, it’s a perfect time to put your home on the market.”

Despite rising prices, Hoffman notes that the VIREB housing market is still very affordable compared to Victoria and Lower Mainland communities.

Whether you are a buyer or seller, Hoffman also notes 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 March 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $350,400, up seven 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 March was $397,375, a 13 per cent increase from March 2015.

The March 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $281,800, a 2.61 per cent increase over 2015. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $354,100, up 9.39 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $310,700, an increase of 8.23 per cent over the same month in 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 5.95 per cent to $367,000 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 8.66 per cent to $391,400. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $193,900, an increase of 3.36 per cent over March 2015.

VIREB – Housing Market Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

NANAIMO, BC – The housing market in the VIREB area showed no signs of slowing down in February, with sales activity continuing in the same vein as January.

In February 2016, 407 single-family homes sold compared to 282 last February, an increase of 44 per cent. Month over month, sales were up by 58 per cent from the 258 sales processed in January 2016. Last month’s active listings totalled 1,527, down 23 per cent from the 1,990 reported in February 2015.

BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir states that the entire south coast of British Columbia is witnessing a robust real estate market. Record levels of consumer demand are fuelling sales, bolstered by British Columbia’s strong economy, which continues to lead the country due to sluggish economic conditions in the rest of Canada. “Some of what we’re seeing is pent-up demand spilling over from 2015, which saw record sales,” says Muir. “We’re anticipating that 2016 will be another busy year, but do expect activity to taper off somewhat in the latter half.”

VIREB President Margo Hoffman reports that the VIREB market is firmly in seller’s territory, with limited inventory continuing to be a challenge. Savvy sellers should take advantage of market conditions and consider putting their home on the market now. “We’re seeing multiple offers in many transactions throughout the board area because there are more buyers than sellers,” says Hoffman. “If you’ve been thinking about selling, it’s a perfect time to do so because there are lots of people who will want your home.”

Despite robust market conditions, Hoffman notes that the VIREB housing market is still very affordable compared to other parts of the province.

“We’re beginning to see some migration from Vancouver that isn’t retirement-focused,” says Hoffman. “An interesting development we’re watching is younger professionals who are trading in their homes for a significantly nicer property on Vancouver Island and then commuting to their jobs on the Lower Mainland.” Although this development is nowhere near a trend, Hoffman notes that commuting options are making doing so a feasible alternative to the expensive real estate on the Lower Mainland and in the Fraser Valley. “We have the ferry, float planes, and Helijet, so getting to and from the Island is much easier than it used it to be,” says Hoffman.

In February 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $340,900, up 5.78 per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. Additionally, in virtually every market, townhouses and apartments posted healthy increases in the benchmark price.

The average MLS® price of a single-family home in February was $386,974, a 16 per cent increase from February 2015.

The February 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $272,300, virtually unchanged from last year. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $342,900, up 7.02 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $303,800, an increase of 6.95 per cent over the same month in 2015 and down slightly from last month. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 4.87 per cent to $356,900, down slightly from January, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 8.27 per cent to $379,600. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $190,300, an increase of 8.37 per cent since February 2015. -

Housing Market Kicks Off 2016 With Strong Sales

NANAIMO, BC – The Vancouver Island housing market kicked off 2016 with strong sales, continuing the momentum created in the last quarter of 2015.

Last month, 258 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) compared to 196 in January 2015, an increase of 32 per cent. Sales activity was down slightly from December 2015’s tally of 276 single-family homes sold. Inventory levels are continuing their downward trend, with active listings down 21 per cent compared to one year ago.

BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir notes that 2016’s strong start is being bolstered by a robust fourth quarter in 2015. That year-end momentum – combined with limited inventory, a strong provincial GDP, improved job growth, and higher wages – will continue to fuel our local housing market.

Muir does expect sales activity in the VIREB area to edge back about three per cent in 2016, with softer demand coming in the latter half of the year. However, that decrease is normal in light of 2015’s robust sales.

Other factors likely to have a positive impact on VIREB’s housing market are low oil prices and a weak Canadian dollar, notes Muir.

“It’s going to take some time for the oil patch to recover, which could result in some interprovincial migration from the provinces most affected by the drop in oil prices,” says Muir. “Some Albertans close to retirement will likely decide to cash in, and B.C. is a popular retirement locale for our Prairie neighbours. Moreover, a weaker Canadian dollar has a net positive impact on our economy because it makes Vancouver Island a more attractive tourist destination.”

VIREB President Margo Hoffman notes that limited inventory is the biggest challenge for REALTORS® and home buyers in the VIREB area. Our housing market is now in seller’s territory, primarily caused by inventory levels that steadily declined month over month in 2015.

“Inventory has been decreasing for over a year now, and in most markets, there are more buyers than sellers,” says Hoffman. “If you’ve been waiting for an opportune time to put your home on the market, now would be an excellent time to sell.”

Despite current market conditions, however, pricing your home appropriately for your neighbourhood is still a vital aspect of the sales process.

“The fact is that overpriced homes take longer to sell no matter how busy the market is,” says Hoffman. “A REALTOR® can help you set a fair price to ensure the best chance of a sale.”

In January 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $340,200, up 5.94 per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. The average MLS® price of a singlefamily home in January was $365,850, a seven per cent increase from January 2015 and up slightly over last month.

The January 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $268,300, down 1.22 per cent from last year. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $332,100, up 3.77 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $304,700, an increase of 7.22 per cent over the same month in 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 6.17 per cent to $358,200 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 10.03 per cent to $388,000. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $186,800, an increase of 10.64 per cent since January 2015.

Strong Housing Demand Forecast Through 2017

Strong Housing Demand Forecast Through 2017
BCREA 2016 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update

Vancouver, BC – January 28, 2016. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released 2016 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update today.

Parksville

Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) rresidential sales in the province are forecast to edge back 6.2 per cent to 96,100 units this year, after reaching 102,517 units in 2015. Strong consumer demand is expected to push MLS® residential sales up by 2 per cent to 98,000 units in 2017.

Housing demand in the province is being supported by a relatively robust economy, leading to strong employment growth and rising wages. In addition, net interprovincial migration is on an upswing as many Albertans look to BC for job opportunities. BC home sales are forecast to remain well above the ten-year average of 83,200 units over the next two years.

“The inventory of homes for sale is now at its lowest level in almost a decade,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Fewer homes for sale and strong consumer demand are expected to push home prices higher in most BC regions this year and in 2017.” The average MLS® residential price in the province is projected to increase 6.4 per cent to $677,200 this year and a further 4.1 per cent to $705,300 in 2017.

New home construction activity is expected to remain at elevated levels corresponding to strong consumer demand and relatively thin inventories, particularly on the South Coast.  Total housing starts in the province are forecast to remain close to an annual pace of 30,000 units through 2017, which will be the strongest two year performance since the 2007-2008 period.

VIREB – Housing Market Ends 2015 on a High Note

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2016
Housing Market Ends 2015 on a High Note

NANAIMO, BC – Housing sales in the VIREB area decreased in December, reflecting seasonal market conditions, but annual sales volume rose 13 per cent over 2014.
A total of 4,886 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in 2015, an increase of 13 per cent over the 4,335 sales recorded the previous year.

Both the benchmark and average prices increased last year, up 6.91 per cent and four per cent respectively. Inventory levels were at their lowest since 2005, down 17 per cent from the previous December. Limited inventory continues to place upward pressure on prices, which has created market conditions that favour sellers.

BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir predicts that housing sales in 2016 will remain robust throughout most of the province although we may not see the same level of acceleration that presented in 2015.

“The housing market is in a very healthy position heading into 2016, fueled by consumer demand and low interest rates,” said Muir. “Lack of inventory throughout much of the province will see home buyers competing for properties, particularly in the single-family-detached market.”

Although the Canadian economy improved in 2015, uncertain economic conditions will likely keep interest rates low, with any increase coming late in the year, if at all, said Muir.

VIREB President Margo Hoffman confirms that the VIREB housing market is now in seller’s territory, primarily caused by inventory levels that steadily declined month over month in 2015.

“We’ve been expecting house prices to rise because there are now more buyers than sellers in most of our zones,” said Hoffman. “However, the VIREB market is still very price-sensitive, with overpriced homes taking much longer to sell. Pricing your home properly for your neighbourhood is key, which is where the services of a REALTOR® come in.”

In December 2015, 277 single-family homes sold in the VIREB coverage area, up eight per cent from the 257 sales recorded the previous December and a 21 per cent drop from November 2015. The benchmark price for a single-family home was $338,500, up 6.91 per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.

The average MLS® price of a single-family home in December was $362,128, up two per cent from December 2014.

The December 2015 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $265,200, down slightly from last year. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $332,900, up 4.24 per cent from 2014. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $302,300, an increase of 7.87 per cent over the same month in 2014. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 5.36 per cent to $356,300 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 6.53 per cent to $380,900. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $197,700, an increase of 12.47 per cent since December 2014.

VIREB – Typical Fall Market Conditions

November 2, 2015 Sales Activity Declines in October, Reflecting Typical Fall Market Conditions

NANAIMO, BC – Sales of single-family homes declined in October, reflecting typically slower fall market conditions. However, due to a robust spring and summer housing market, the board is on target to reach its sales forecast for 2015.

Last month, 369 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) compared to 400 in October 2014, a decrease of eight per cent. Month over month, sales were down by 14 per cent from September 2015. When condominium and townhouse sales are factored in, however, sales board wide increased by two per cent. Inventory levels continue to decrease, with active listings down 16 per cent from one year ago.

BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir states that the decline in sales is unsurprising, particularly in light of the robust sort of market British Columbia has witnessed throughout 2015.

“The dip in sales activity is not unusual for this time of year and is nothing to be concerned about,” said Muir. “It’s even less of an issue when you consider how strong the 2015 market has been. You don’t typically see home sales reach their highest levels in 10 years and then abruptly plateau.”

VIREB President-Elect Margo Hoffman notes that real estate is a cyclical industry sensitive to and affected by a variety of factors, most notably that of consumer preferences and decisions.

“Fall housing markets are typically slower because consumers frequently choose to wait for a more opportune time to buy or sell,” said Hoffman. “Few individuals like to move during the Christmas season, and households with school-aged children usually prefer to postpone major housing decisions until the spring or summer.”

Despite declining inventory levels and a steadily rising benchmark price, Hoffman notes that the VIREB market is very price-sensitive.

“We’ve had a busy year in the VIREB area, but have not experienced the intense sales activity witnessed on the Lower Mainland and in some parts of Victoria,” says Hoffman. “Buyers are willing to walk away from a deal because they’re confident they can find a home somewhere else. Sellers should consider using a REALTOR® to ensure their home is priced to sell.”

In October 2015, the benchmark price for a single-family home in the VIREB coverage area was $339,100, a slight decrease from September and up 5.60 per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. The average MLS® price of a single-family home increased to $361,665 compared to $350,661 last month and $349,172 in October 2014.

The October 2015 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $273,600, an increase of 1.76 per cent from last year. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $339,800, up 7.72 per cent from 2014. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $302,300, an increase of 6.40 per cent over the same month in 2014. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 5.18 per cent to $358,700 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 3.98 per cent to $372,500. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $191,400, an increase of 2.95 per cent since October 2014.

VIREB – Healthy Housing Market Continues in September

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 1, 2015 Healthy Housing Market Continues in September NANAIMO, BC – Sales in the VIREB area edged back slightly in September, but the housing market remains robust, a trend expected to continue for the rest of the year.

Last month, 431 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) compared to 405 in September 2014, an increase of six per cent. Month over month, sales decreased by 1.8 per cent from August 2015. Inventory levels are still declining, with active listings down 15 per cent from one year ago.

BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir states that the marginal decrease in September sales activity has not affected the overall strength of the housing market. “Our provincial economy continues to be healthy, bolstered by a hefty infusion of tourism dollars over the summer,” says Muir. “Last month’s slight backwards tick in housing activity is no cause for concern. We expect strong sales momentum for the rest of the year, fuelled by job growth, consumer confidence, and low interest rates.”

Nationally, the Canadian economy appears to have emerged from the doldrums caused by the malaise in the oil patch, says Muir, which bodes well for the B.C. housing market. “Although we expect a slight downturn in the housing market in 2016, activity will remain strong,” says Muir. “You don’t typically see home sales reach their highest levels in 10 years and then plateau.”

Muir emphasized that the services of a REALTOR® are especially valuable in an active housing market to ensure consumers make smart decisions when buying or selling a home.

Although September is traditionally one of the busiest months for REALTORS®, VIREB President-Elect Margo Hoffman says that last month improved upon the norm. “Our members aren’t run off their feet, but they’re doing a lot of business,” says Hoffman. “Inventory throughout our area continues to decline, and the smaller pool of potential homes for sale will eventually place upward pricing pressure on certain property types in some markets.”

In September 2015, the benchmark price for a single-family home in the VIREB coverage area was $340,200, a slight increase over August and up just under six per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. The average MLS® price of a single-family home decreased marginally from $352,042 one year ago to $350,626 in September 2015.

The September 2015 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $276,100, an increase of 1.41 per cent from last year. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $340,600, up 6.23 per cent from 2014. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $303,300, an increase of 7.85 per cent over the same month in 2014. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 5.75 per cent to $358,100 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 4.21 per cent to $377,200. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $190,600, an increase of 1.81 per cent since September 2014.