Low Inventory and High Demand Creating Brisk Sellers' Market
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2012
November 1st, 2012
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% compared to last year, while average sale prices remained virtually unchanged. In September the unit sales had declined a full 18% 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. For example in Port Alberni / West Coast there was a decline of 56 percent in unit sales while the Cowichan Valley showed a 23 percent increase in unit sales for the same period. This fluctuation is due to the small number of unit sales in most of the Island’s market areas, which makes it difficult to get statistically relevant information on a month to month basis. The average price of a single family home sold within the VIREB region in October was $324,190 down marginally 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 3% this year,” explained Cameron Muir, Chief Economist with the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). “A modest increase in home sales is expected next year. However, consumer demand will nevertheless remain relatively muted as bumpy economic growth limits overall sales volume.”
As of the end of October 2012 there were 2,679 single family homes available on the Multiple Listing Service® within VIREB’s coverage area, down incrementally from the 2,689 homes in the system at the end of October 2011. In October there were 668 homes listed on the MLS® system, up from the 565 homes listed during October 2011
“We have to focus on the fact that right now there is an excellent inventory of homes in all price ranges and in all categories for buyers to choose from,” explained VIREB President Guy Bezeau. “The key as always has to be with correct and accurate pricing. Properties that are priced right are moving, and sellers who recognize this are making sales. Certainly buyers are cautious but they are buying. The bottom line is the quality of listings is impressive and deals are being had out there.”
Comparing October 2012 to October 2011, the average sale prices across VIREB's six zones saw: Campbell River increase 3% to $300,870, the Comox Valley dipped 6% to $329,756, Nanaimo’s average sales price also declined 6% to $336,172 from the October 2011 average price of $356,453, Parksville/Qualicum prices were down 3% to $355,965, Port Alberni/West Coast jumped a full 27% to $278,065 and the Cowichan Valley declined 5% 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% spike in unit sales while Port Alberni / West Coast unit sales plunged 56% compared to October 2011. Comox Valley recorded a 10% increase in unit sales on a year to year basis while Campbell River sales were up 8%. All other areas of Vancouver Island reported sales declines ranging from 15% to 17% as compared to October 2011. To receive an accurate interpretation of local trends and market conditions that could be affecting your area it’s always recommended to contact a local REALTOR® as regional factors continue to dramatically alter the monthly statistical picture.