Assessments in Campbell River are up about 15 per cent and reflective of real estate market activity. File photo/Black Press

Strong home buyer demand hampered by low inventory

In November Island home sales, 422 single-family detached properties (excluding acreage and waterfront) sold on the MLS® System compared to 318 in November 2019, a 33 per cent increase.

Sales dipped by 19 per cent from October 2020, according to the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB).

In the condo apartment category, sales rose by 65 per cent year over year and decreased by 17 per cent from October. Row/townhouse sales increased by 84 per cent from the previous year but dropped by eight per cent from October.

“Although sales decreased in September and October, we attribute it to a lack of inventory, not weakening demand,” says VIREB president-elect Ian Mackay. “The buyers are there, but the listings aren’t.”

VIREB represents over 1,000 Realtor members in approximately 90 member offices on Vancouver Island (north of Victoria).

Active listings of single-family detached properties were 541 in November compared to 733 in October, a 26 per cent decrease. There were 307 condo apartments and 143 row/townhouses for sale last month, down eight per cent and 27 per cent, respectively, from October.

The strength of the provincial housing market continues to surprise even the experts. In its Fourth-Quarter Housing Forecast, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) states that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated recession have impacted housing markets in unexpected and unpredictable ways.

“Despite what may be the worst recession in B.C. history, the housing market had a record fall season, and prices are rapidly rising as pent-up demand floods into an under-supplied market,” says BCREA. “As that pent-up demand from the loss of a spring season fades, sales will likely slow from their current pace, but activity is expected to remain strong as record-low mortgage rates and a recovering economy continue to drive sales.”

Notwithstanding high demand, correctly pricing your home remains the key to a quick sale. Overpriced homes tend to linger in our area despite prevailing market conditions, Mackay says.

The benchmark price of a single-family home hit $540,300 in November, up by four per cent year over year. The benchmark price of an apartment reached $310,200, an increase of four per cent, while the benchmark price of a townhouse rose by nine per cent year over year, climbing to $441,600.

In Campbell River, the benchmark price of a single-family home hit $475,900, an increase of eight per cent over last year. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $544,900, up by three per cent from one year ago. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $502,100, an increase of five per cent from November 2019. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose by one per cent, hitting $564,500, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by seven per cent to $620,100. The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $326,800, a marginal year-over-year increase. For the North Island, the benchmark price rose to $237,300, an 18 per cent increase over last year.

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