The Okanagan real estate industry is in the midst of a 'cooling off' period after robust sales and escalating housing prices over the last two years. (File photo)

Real estate prices continue to rise on the Island but so does inventory

Due to a significant increase in inventory, July brought more options for buyers in the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) area.

Last month, active listings of single-family homes (not acreage or waterfront) climbed by 142 per cent from July 2021 and 15 per cent from June 2022, reaching 1,387. VIREB’s inventory of condo apartments hit 336 in July, 91 per cent higher than one year ago and up by 14 per cent from June. There were 267 row/townhouses for sale in July, a 107 per cent year-over-year increase and up by 20 per cent from June.

The additional inventory gives buyers more choices and mitigates the need to move too quickly when making an offer. Kelly O’Dwyer, 2022 VIREB President-Elect, notes in a press release that while sales have slowed, the tempo is more reminiscent of a typical summer market, but one the board has not seen in several years.

“While higher interest rates are certainly impacting the market, some buyers are postponing their home purchase and planning to revisit the process in the fall,” says O’Dwyer. “The pandemic threw a wrench into the real estate market, but what we’re experiencing now feels more like a typical summer.”

O’Dwyer also notes that realtors are seeing price reductions on higher-priced properties, and multiple offers have decreased. Sellers may have to adjust their price expectations now that the market has shifted, although it is too early to say how long these conditions will persist.

By category, there were 297 single-family-home sales in July, a 34 per cent decrease from one year ago and down by 27 per cent from June. There were 75 condo apartment sales last month, a decline of 37 per cent year over year and down by nine per cent from June. In the row/townhouse category, 51 units changed hands in July, down 49 per cent from one year ago and 25 per cent from June 2022.

Notwithstanding higher inventory and lower sales, prices continue to rise throughout the VIREB area. The board-wide benchmark price of a single-family home reached $856,700 in July, up 22 per cent from one year ago. In the apartment category, the benchmark price hit $450,200 last month, a 26 per cent increase from July 2021. The benchmark price of a townhouse increased by 23 per cent, climbing to $624,700 in June. However, the benchmark price for the overall board area dipped by one per cent from June to July.

In Campbell River, the benchmark price of a single-family home hit $755,800 in July, up by 21 per cent from the previous year. In the Comox Valley, the year-over-year benchmark price rose by 21 per cent to $914,100. The Cowichan Valley reported a benchmark price of $879,300, an increase of 24 per cent from July 2021. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose by 21 per cent, reaching $883,400, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 20 per cent to $982,000. The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $611,800, up 27 per cent from the previous year. For the North Island, the benchmark price of a single-family home rose by 29 per cent to $478,300. Excluding the Comox Valley and North Island, all zones in the VIREB area saw small month-over-month price reductions from June to July.

If consumers are struggling with timing around whether to buy or sell in the current market, the advice of a local realtor can be beneficial. 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 your home.

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