September 4th, 2012
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales summary data released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) shows housing sales activity across Vancouver Island declined 21% last month compared to last year, while average sale prices dipped 5%. Across VIREB’s coverage area in August sales prices dropped marginally when compared to August 2011, but the number of listings currently on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) rose 4% compared to a year earlier. The average price of a single family home sold within the VIREB region in August was $327,733 down from the August 2011 average price of $345,481. The number of unit sales declined 21% last month when compared to a year ago. In August 2011 there were 358 single family homes sold, in comparison 283 unit sales were recorded in August 2012. The dollar value of properties sold last month across the VIREB coverage area when compared to August 2011 was down 25%.
“Both in Victoria and across Vancouver Island sales activity has been quite flat for the past few months, and it’s likely to continue like that for the foreseeable future. No big changes in this trend are anticipated through to the end of the year,” explained Cameron Muir, Chief Economist with the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). “However the interest rates continue to remain low and are anticipated to stay that while for a while. In addition province-wide job stats have started to show growth, with part time jobs rolling into full time jobs. The end result of this trend for the long term is increased stability in the provincial economy which ultimately leads to increased sales in the housing market. The best prediction would be stability in the immediate and a gradual increase in sales and prices in the long term.”
As of the end of August 2012 there were 3,156 single family homes available on the Multiple Listing Service® within VIREB’s coverage area, down slightly from the 3,162 homes in the system at the end of August 2011. In August there were 768 homes listed on the MLS® system, up 4% from the 740 homes listed during August 2011
“It’s a case of business as usual when it comes to selling real estate,” explained VIREB President Guy Bezeau. “There are certainly some spikes, such as last month’s sales figures, but for the most part we just keep chugging along. Traditionally the fall market is one of our most active ones, and all indications are that this will be the case this fall. The unusual summer weather may also have played a part in the drop in activity last month as potential buyers were spending the time enjoying the last of the summer rather than house hunting. With the return to classes, and to more normal activities, it’s likely going to be a busy fall season in terms of real estate activity.”
Comparing August 2012 to August 2011, the average sale prices across VIREB's six zones saw: Campbell River increase 8% to $301,093, the Comox Valley declined 5% to $329,008, Nanaimo’s average sales price dropped 7% to $341,434 from the August 2011 price of $365,592, Parksville/Qualicum prices were down 8% to $363,873, Port Alberni/West Coast dropped 31% to $181,793 and the Cowichan Valley increased 4% to $351,061. In terms of unit sales year to year there was as is often the case a wide disparity among the different zones last month. Nanaimo unit sales for example were down 38% compared to August 2011, while Cowichan Valley unit sales were up 21% as compared to a year ago. Parksville/Qualicum recorded a 32% drop in unit sales on a year to year basis, while other areas of Vancouver Island reported sales declines ranging from 5% to 22% as compared to August 2011. Contact a REALTOR® for an interpretation of local trends and conditions that could be affecting your area as regional factors can dramatically alter the monthly statistical picture.