July 6th, 2012
A three bedroom, two bathroom single family home selling in the $350,000 range was the top selling property on Vancouver Island last year – according to information contained in the 2011 Buyer Profile recently released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB). The 2011 Buyer Profile provides a statistical snapshot of real estate sales activity and market trends recorded throughout the VIREB coverage area – which extends from the Malahat in the south to the northern tip of Vancouver Island.
The yearly statistical breakdown was compiled following the development, release and return of a questionnaire sent to residential buyers obtained through the MLS® database for 2011. The survey was mailed to 6,034 potential respondents with a total of 1,587 (26.3%) completed and returned. The data provided was used to create a general statistical picture for the Board area as a whole and for each of VIREB’s individual market areas: Duncan/Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, Port Alberni/West Coast, Parksville/Qualicum, Comox Valley, Campbell River, North Island and Islands areas.
“It’s an important and extremely useful document, for our member REALTORS® certainly, but for developers, Economic Development Officers and others,” explained VIREB President Guy Bezeau. “To have a snapshot of who the home buyers are and where they come is a very valuable tool. Having a better understanding of the marketplace is always a genuine benefit.”
A few highlights of the survey include (on a Board wide basis) that 40% of home buyers come from within the same area as the home purchased, with 16% coming from elsewhere on Vancouver Island. In addition 96% of all homes purchased last year were as a principle residence, with only 17% of those purchasers being first time buyers. A total of 42% of homes purchased last year were as retirement properties with only 13% of buyers dipping into their RRSPs to make the down payment. This general information suggests a stable but more mature buying public being the dominant force in the region’s housing marketplace.
Cameron Muir, Chief Economist of the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) stated the Buyer Profile helps to identify both regional housing trends and identifies the type of buyers seeking out Vancouver Island Properties. “Vancouver Island is clearly both an economic engine and a retirement village. The survey confirms that little speculation is occurring in the Vancouver Island housing market with just three per cent of home sales to investors. Two out of every five home buyers on the Island are purchasing their retirement home. The Profile also shows that a large number of Vancouver Island home buyers, nearly 40 per cent, originate from outside the Island. This is useful information for REALTORS® and others.”
How a home buyer goes about selecting their REALTOR® was another interesting point brought out during the questionnaire. According to the returned information 23% of all home buyers chose their individual REALTOR® following the recommendations of a family member or friend, with 15% of buyers having previously used the same REALTOR® for their real estate purchases. A full one third (33%) of respondents also reported being introduced to the property they would ultimately purchase by their REALTOR® – a higher percentage than any other marketing source such as advertising, the Internet or by lawn signs. This is a number that points out the tangible value of hiring a REALTOR to facilitate the buying process.
Regional differences were also highlighted in the Buyer Profile, showcasing the uniqueness of each of Vancouver Island’s different areas.