January 2nd, 2013
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales summary data for December released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) shows housing sales activity across Vancouver Island dropped 17 percent compared to last year, while average sale prices climbed four percent. The average price of a single family home sold within the VIREB region in December was $326,541 up from the December 2011 average price of $315,239. The number of reported unit sales was down last month when compared to a year ago. In December 2011 there were 182 single family homes sold, in comparison 151 sales were recorded in December 2012.
Cumulatively during 2012 a total of 3,585 single family homes were sold across the VIREB coverage area – down approximately six percent from 2011 when 3,807 homes were sold. The Nanaimo region reported the largest number of sales last year with 1,017 units sold in 2012. The average sale price of a home sold during 2012 in the VIREB area was $332,347, down three percent from the 2011 board wide average price of $341,537. The year’s end statistics shows prices in the Port Alberni / West Coast region recorded the largest drop (eight percent) for a median price of $197,000.
“Overall market activity is reflecting tighter credit conditions as well as some ‘fence sitting’ by potential buyers,” explained Cameron Muir, Chief Economist with the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). “With relatively stable prices expected in 2013, some purchases that were delayed last year are expected to translate into tangible transactions this year.”
As of the end of December 2012 there were 2,010 single family homes available on the Multiple Listing Service® within VIREB’s coverage area, almost identical from the 2,016 homes in the system at the end of December 2011.
“I think that compared to other regions of the province Vancouver Island has been weathering the storm pretty well,” explained VIREB President Guy Bezeau. “There is some pretty consistent pricing occurring with only a three percent annual average reduction when comparing 2012 to 2011. Even comparing unit sales from one year to the next there is only a six percent decrease year to year which is a relatively minor fluctuation. Moving forward into the New Year I expect to see a little more movement in terms of sales activity.”
Comparing December 2012 to December 2011, the average sale prices across VIREB's six zones saw: Campbell River dip one percent to $267,960, the Comox Valley edged downward an identical one percent to $360,030, Nanaimo’s average sales price increased five percent to $350,458 from the December 2011 average price of $332,400, Parksville/Qualicum prices were up eight percent to $370,924, Port Alberni/West Coast climbed 14 percent to $201,987 while the Cowichan Valley was virtually unchanged at $363,893.
In terms of unit sales year to year there continued to be large differences between the individual zones last month. Port Alberni / West Coast recorded a 42 percent drop in unit sales while the Comox Valley region’s unit sales increased 11 percent compared to December 2011. Cowichan Valley unit sales were off 35 percent, Nanaimo’s sales were down 25 percent while unit sales in the Parksville/Qualicum area were down eight percent. Finally, housing sales activity in the Campbell River region was down four percent last month as compared to December 2011. As always it is recommended that interested individuals contact a local REALTOR® to receive an accurate picture of regional sales trends as localized factors dramatically alter the monthly statistical picture.