Housing finishes on high note

Yearly sales were somewhat stronger than anticipated at the outset of 2014

Sales activity across Vancouver Island finished on a high note in December, capping off a year that saw consistent monthly gains.

Yearly sales were somewhat stronger than anticipated at the outset of 2014, reflecting the renewed consumer confidence observed in the retail sector. Overall, the housing market remains balanced, which continues to be good news for buyers and sellers. The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that 4,335 single-family homes sold in its area on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in 2014. This signifies a 10 per cent increase over the 3,940 sales recorded in 2013. The average sale price in 2014 was $345,108, up five per cent from 2013’s average sale price of $329,144.

BCREA’s chief economist, Cameron Muir, is optimistic heading into 2015, commenting that consumer demand is up, with five per cent retail growth year over year. Housing prices continue to reflect that confidence, as well as an inflation rate of approximately two per cent.

A total of 257 single-family homes sold in the VIREB coverage area in December 2014, a 22 per cent increase over the 210 sales recorded in December 2013, and a 14 per cent drop from last month.

In December 2014, the benchmark price for a single-family home in the VIREB coverage area was $313,800, up 1.94 per cent from 2013. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. The benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $267,200, up slightly from December 2013. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $319,400, marking an increase of 1.79 per cent over last year. Duncan reports a benchmark price of $280,800, an increase of 1.05 per cent over the same month in 2013, while Nanaimo’s benchmark price was $338,300, up 3.28% compared to last year. The Parksville-Qualicum area posted a benchmark price of $359,400, which is a 4.60 per cent increase over last year. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $175,800, down slightly from December 2013.