Island housing sales remain constant

A modest increase in home sales is expected next year

Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sales summary data for October released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) shows housing sales activity across Vancouver Island dipped 10 per cent compared to last year, while average sale prices remained virtually unchanged.

In September the unit sales had declined a full 18 per cent when compared to the year before. Across VIREB’s coverage area in October there were some marked variations in unit sales when comparing one region against another. In Port Alberni/West Coast there was a decline of 56 per cent in unit sales while the Cowichan Valley showed a 23 per cent increase in unit sales. This fluctuation is due to the small number of unit sales on most of the Island, which makes it difficult to get statistically relevant information. The average price of a single family home sold within the VIREB region in October was $324,190 down from the October 2011 average price of $325,308. The number of reported unit sales was down last month when compared to a year ago. In October 2011 there were 301 single family homes sold, in comparison 272 unit sales were recorded in October 2012.

“The market remains generally stable, albeit with annual unit sales expected to be down about three per cent this year,” explained Cameron Muir, Chief Economist with the British Columbia Real Estate Association. “A modest increase in home sales is expected next year. However, consumer demand will nevertheless remain relatively muted.”

Comparing October 2012 to October 2011, the average sale prices across VIREB’s six zones saw: Campbell River increase three per cent to $300,870, the Comox Valley dipped six per cent to $329,756, Nanaimo’s average sales price also declined six per cent to $336,172 from the October 2011 average price of $356,453, Parksville/Qualicum prices were down three per cent to $355,965, Port Alberni/West Coast jumped a full 27 per cent to $278,065 and the Cowichan Valley declined five per cent to $318,545. In terms of unit sales year to year there continued to be a wide disparity among the different zones last month. The Cowichan Valley region recorded a 23 per cent spike in unit sales while Port Alberni/West Coast unit sales plunged 56 per cent compared to October 2011. Comox Valley recorded a 10 per cent increase in unit sales on a year to year basis while Campbell River sales were up eight per cent.