Healthy Summer Housing Market Expected to Continue Into Fall

September 2, 2015

NANAIMO – The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) housing market continues to do well, with the healthy sales seen this summer expected to continue into the fall. Last month, 439 single-family homes sold on the MLS® system compared to 361 in August 2014, an increase of 22 percent.

Although sales dipped approximately 15 percent from July, the decrease reflects typically slower August sales volume rather than being an indicator of a weakening market. Inventory levels are still declining, with active listings down nearly 17 percent from one year ago.

British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) Chief Economist Cameron Muir states that although low interest rates continue to be a contributing factor behind B.C.’s robust housing market, consumer confidence is the primary driver. “We’ve had low interest rates for a long time now, so consumer confidence is what’s pushing average sales activity into the above-average range,” explained Muir.

Despite fears of a “technical recession,” flat economic conditions are largely regional, with provinces affected by a weak oil patch taking the brunt. “British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec thus far haven’t been affected by problems in the oil patch,” Muir said. “In fact, our provincial economy is still the strongest in the country. We expect that trend to continue for the rest of the year and into 2016, and that growth will underpin the housing market.”

Muir emphasized 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.

VIREB President Jason Finlayson confirms that REALTORS® were busier than usual in June, July, and August, but the local market remains balanced overall. “We’ve had a stronger summer compared to other years, but our market didn’t see the feverish activity experienced on the Lower Mainland,” said Finlayson. “Despite steadily declining inventory throughout the board area the benchmark price increased by only six percent over August 2014. Sellers still need to price their home correctly for buyers to bite.”

In August 2015, the benchmark price for a single-family home in the VIREB coverage area was $338,700, the same as July and up approximately six percent from 2014. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. The average price of a single-family home was $359,497 compared to $339,547 in August 2014, an increase of six percent. The August 2015 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $275,400, an increase of 3.21 percent from last year.

In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $339,200, up 4.22 percent from 2014. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $299,800, an increase of 8.32 percent over the same month in 2014. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 7.77 percent to $356,900 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 4.87 percent to $375,500, unchanged from last month. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $192,200, a decrease of 1.49 percent since August 2014.

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