VIREB – Home Sales Cooling But Prices Still Rising

 

WELCOME SUMMER!

 

NANAIMO, BC – Last month, 444 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 518 in May and 617 one year ago. The number of apartments changing hands last month dropped by 21 per cent, but in the townhouse category, sales increased by 26 per cent.

Housing demand in the VIREB area has shifted lower in the first half of 2018 as stricter mortgage qualifications for conventional borrowers and rising interest rates took their toll on household purchasing power and affordability. It is unclear whether the June slowdown is reflective of seasonal summer market conditions or if demand-side policy changes are finally beginning to play a larger role in VIREB’s housing market.

Despite lower sales thus far in 2018, lack of inventory continues to tilt the market in favour of sellers and push prices upwards. The number of single-family homes for sale has been slowly increasing, hitting 1,336 in June, up only three per cent from May but a significant increase from the 893 properties available in January. The supply of townhouses rose by 33 per cent from one year ago, but many of the listings behind these modest inventory gains in both property types are being quickly snapped up by buyers.
In its 2018 Second-Quarter Housing Forecast, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) anticipates that MLS® residential sales in the province will decline by nine per cent to 94,200 units this year from 103,700 in 2017.
“B.C. housing markets have benefited from the provincial economy expanding well above trend growth over the past four years,” says BCREA chief economist Cameron Muir. “However, economic growth is expected to slow and reflect the long-term average this year.”
On a local level, BCREA predicts that over the next eight months, VIREB’s long-term sellers’ market will begin shifting towards more balanced conditions. Further, the pace of price increases will slow if demand keeps declining, but it is unlikely that prices will drop until additional inventory enters the market by way of new construction or buyer appetite decreases drastically.
In the meantime, competition for homes – especially in the $300,000 to $500,000 range – is still modus operandi in the VIREB area, with multiple offers a commonplace occurrence on properties in that price range. Despite buyer demand, however, homes at most price points still need to be reasonably priced.
“For sellers, properly pricing your home remains an important factor,” says Don McClintock, 2018 VIREB President. “Buyers are savvy, and overpriced homes take longer to sell.
Connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market.
“REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities and can help streamline the buying and selling process to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients,” says McClintock.
The benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area reached $510,300 in June, a 15 per cent increase from one year ago. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.) The benchmark price of an apartment last month was $313,300, a slight decrease from May but a 24 per cent increase over last June. In the townhouse category, the benchmark price hit $405,000, up 18 per cent over June 2017.

Last month, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area climbed to $425,800, an increase of 22 per cent over June 2017. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price reached $510,700, up 17 per cent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $450,500, up 12 per cent from June 2017. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 11 per cent to $534,300, down slightly from May, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 16 per cent to $575,800. The cost of a benchmark home in Port Alberni reached $293,800, up 22 per cent from one year ago.

VIREB – Single-Family Benchmark Price Surpasses $500,000 in May

 

NANAIMO, BC – The benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area broke the $500,000 mark in May, rising to $507,700, a 17 per cent increase from one year ago. Sales of single-family homes were down 17 per cent from last year but posted a month-over-month increase of nine per cent.

Last month, 520 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 476 in April and 630 one year ago. The number of apartments and townhouses changing hands in May dropped by six per cent and 11 per cent, respectively.

VIREB’s inventory of single-family homes continues to climb, rising from 749 in January 2018 to 1,215 in May. The supply of apartments dropped slightly last month, down six per cent from one year ago, but townhouse inventory rose significantly.

In its 2018 Second-Quarter Housing Forecast, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) anticipates that MLS® residential sales in the province will decline by nine per cent to 94,200 units this year from 103,700 in 2017.

“B.C. housing markets have benefited from the provincial economy expanding well above trend growth over the past four years,” says BCREA chief economist Cameron Muir. “However, economic growth is expected to slow and reflect the longterm average this year.”

Housing demand in the VIREB area shifted lower in the first four months of 2018 as stricter mortgage qualifications for conventional borrowers took their toll on household purchasing power and affordability. Other economic headwinds that could dampen demand include higher interest rates and new provincial taxes. However, the attractiveness of Vancouver Island to retirees and millennials is expected to mitigate their impact somewhat.

Despite lower sales thus far in 2018, lack of inventory continues to tilt the market in favour of sellers and push prices upwards. The pace of these increases could slow somewhat if demand keeps declining, but it is unlikely that prices will drop until additional inventory enters the market by way of new construction.

“Housing starts are up on Vancouver Island, particularly in Nanaimo, so there is some relief on the horizon,” says Janice Stromar, 2018 Past President. “However, in the multi-family category, the time between conception and completion can take several years, which doesn’t help people looking to buy now.”

Since limited inventory is keeping the VIREB area in a sellers’ market, competition for homes – especially in the $300,000 to $500,000 range – means buyers and sellers should strongly consider using a REALTOR®, says Stromar.

“As experienced professionals, we can help streamline the buying and selling process to ensure the best possible outcome while reducing associated risks,” says Stromar.

As noted above, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area reached $507,700 in May, a 17 per cent increase from one year ago. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.) The benchmark price of an apartment last month rose to $314,000, up 25 per cent board-wide from the previous year, while the benchmark price of a townhouse hit $397,100, an 18 per cent increase from May 2017. Last month, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area climbed to $417,500, an increase of 20 per cent over May 2017.

In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price reached $500,500, up 17 per cent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $450,700, an increase of 15 per cent compared to May 2017. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 14 per cent to $538,500 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 17 per cent to $575,000. The cost of a benchmark home in Port Alberni reached $294,900, up 27 per cent from one year ago.

Lack of Inventory Continues to Drive Housing Market

December 1, 2017 – The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that single-family home sales last month dipped by seven per cent from October but rose 23 per cent from November 2016.

Last month, 426 properties sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 346 one year ago and 458 in October. Inventory of single-family homes decreased by 13 per cent month over month and four per cent from one year ago. Although the supply of single-family homes for sale has been steadily rising each month since VIREB hit a historic low of 859 in December 2016, inventory dipped in October and once again in November.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) notes that the housing market in B.C. is thriving due to strong economic fundamentals, such as robust retail sales, job growth, and population growth. British Columbia’s economy continues to lead the country, with GDP in 2018 expected to hit 3.8 per cent. Government policy decisions, including slightly higher interest rates and the new mortgage stress test (Guideline B-20), could affect the housing market in 2018, but it is too early to say in what way.

Introduced by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), Guideline B-20 – which takes effect on January 1, 2018 – extends the requirement for a mortgage stress test to all home buyers, even those who have more than 20 per cent as a down payment. However, some mortgage lenders – including credit unions such as Vancity, Coast Capital, and Prospera – do not come under OSFI’s jurisdiction, as they are provincially regulated by the Financial Institutions Commission. Unlike banks, which are federally regulated, credit unions in B.C. are not required to “stress test” their mortgage applicants. Therefore, buyers can get a mortgage with a credit union and income-qualify at the rate they will be paying, which may give them more purchasing power. But they would still have to pass the usual debt-service tests.

Don McClintock, VIREB President-Elect, reports that sales are still brisk throughout the VIREB area. Lack of inventory continues to drive home sales, and there are no apparent signs of buyer fatigue. However, multiple offers have decreased slightly in some markets, which could be good news for buyers.

“It’s emotionally draining when you continue to find, and then lose, the perfect home in a multiple-offer situation,” says McClintock. “Buyers will certainly welcome any relief on that front.”

However, the VIREB area is still a sellers’ market, notes McClintock, which makes this an optimum time to sell. He adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market.

“Our current market conditions can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help streamline the process to ensure the best possible outcome,” says McClintock.

In November 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $463,200, up 17 per cent from one year ago. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.) The benchmark price of an apartment last month rose to $274,100, up 26 per cent board-wide from the previous year, while the benchmark price of a townhouse was $359,200, a 21 per cent increase from November 2016.

The November 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $366,300, an increase of 18 per cent over November 2016. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $467,200, up 21 per cent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $410,700, an increase of 15 per cent compared to November 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 14 per cent to $497,200 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 16 per cent to $525,600. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $252,700, up 18 per cent from one year ago.

Buyer Demand and Low Inventory Driving Brisk Housing Market

 

NANAIMO, BC – The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that single-family home sales in October 2017 rose by 16 per cent from one year ago but dipped 10 per cent from September.

Last month, 460 properties sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 398 one year ago and 511 in September.

When looking at these sales figures, however, it is important to note that 2016 was a banner year for real estate. Some market correction was expected in 2017, but sales activity in the VIREB area is still robust. Further, VIREB attributes most of the decline in sales numbers to ongoing inventory challenges. In fact, although the supply of single-family homes for sale has been steadily rising each month since VIREB hit a historic low of 859 in December 2016, inventory in October was just 1,138, down two per cent from last year and eight per cent from September.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that the housing market in British Columbia (B.C.), particularly in the southern half of the province, continues to thrive due to strong economic fundamentals. B.C.’s GDP is currently tracking at four per cent and is expected to average 3.7 per cent for the year. Government policy decisions, including slightly higher interest rates and the new mortgage stress test, could affect the housing market in 2018, but it is too early to say in what way. These attempts to temper rising home prices – aimed mainly at overheated markets in Vancouver and Toronto – will likely be counterbalanced by demographic factors, such as baby boomers entering their retirement years, millennials purchasing their first homes, and inter-provincial migration.

Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President, states that sales are still brisk throughout the VIREB area.

“Looking purely at statistics, it appears that the market is cooling, but the opposite is true,” says Stromar.

“Lack of inventory is certainly tempering sales, but what is available sells faster and for more money.” Stromar adds that multiple offers are still occurring regularly, even on condominiums, townhouses, and mobile homes, which is unusual for the VIREB area.

However, sellers still need to price their homes realistically. “Although many properties are selling above list price, sellers must set a reasonable price because consumers are savvy and may not look at an overpriced home,” says Stromar. Connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market, adds Stromar.

“Our current market conditions can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help streamline the process to ensure the best possible outcome while mitigating associated risks,” says Stromar.

In October 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area rose to $463,800, up 17 per cent from one year ago. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.) The benchmark price of an apartment last month rose to $272,300, up 28 per cent board-wide from the previous year, while the benchmark price of a townhouse hit $360,100, a 22 per cent increase from 2016.

The October 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $366,800, an increase of 19 per cent over October 2016. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $466,200, up 20 per cent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $409,500, an increase of 14 per cent compared to October 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price broke the $500,000 mark, rising 14 per cent to hit $501,400. The Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 17 per cent to $524,900, while the price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $253,600, up 18 per cent from one year ago.

VIREB – Housing Market Shows No Signs of Cooling

October 2017 – The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that single-family home sales dipped in September, down to 511 from last year’s 527, a decrease of three per cent. Sales declined by five per cent from August, which saw 540 sales. However, VIREB attributes the slight decline in sales numbers to seasonal market conditions and inventory challenges.

There were only 1,233 single-family homes for sale in September, a decrease of three per cent from 2016. Strong economic fundamentals are underpinning housing activity in British Columbia, particularly in the southern half of the province.

The B.C. economy has expanded at above-trend growth for over three years, with 2017 expected to be the fourth consecutive year of economic growth hitting three per cent or higher. Employment growth is around seven per cent, and consumer confidence is high, with retail sales in the province expected to climb close to eight per cent this year. Add a high level of inter-provincial migration to the mix, combined with the supply of homes for sale dropping to its lowest level in over a decade, and it is easy to see why home prices are rising and sellers’ markets thriving. These economic trends are expected to continue for the remainder of the year at least.

Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President, confirms that the VIREB area has been a sellers’ market for several months now. “With a sales-to-active-listings ratio of around 32 per cent, the VIREB market is firmly in sellers’ territory,” says Stromar. “A housing market is characterized as favouring sellers when the ratio of home sales to active listings is above 20 per cent, while a balanced market is between 14 and 20 per cent.”

Stromar adds that multiple offers are still occurring regularly, even on condominiums, townhouses, and mobile homes, which is unusual for the VIREB area. However, although many properties are selling above list price, sellers still need to price their homes correctly because consumers are savvy and will not purchase an overpriced home.

She offers the following advice for buyers. “When you find a property you like, you need to act quickly, so make sure your financing is pre-approved,” says Stromar. “You should also decide beforehand on the price you’re willing to pay if you find yourself in a multiple-offer situation.”

Connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market, adds Stromar. “Our current market conditions can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help streamline the process to ensure the best possible outcome while mitigating associated risks,” says Stromar.

In September 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area rose to $462,500, up 18 per cent from one year ago. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.) The benchmark price of an apartment last month rose to $270,600, up 30 per cent board-wide from the previous year, while the benchmark price of a townhouse hit $357,200, a 23 per cent increase from 2016.

The September 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $370,700, an increase of 22 per cent over September 2016. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $461,700, up 22 per cent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $410,500, an increase of 16 per cent compared to September 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 18 per cent to $498,300 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 16 per cent to $518,000. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $254,700, up 18 per cent from one year ago.

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.

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. 

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