January Update - Vancouver Island

Short-Lived Lull In Buying Activity Expected

NANAIMO, BC – Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales summary data for January released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) shows housing sales activity across Vancouver Island was down 14 percent compared to last year, while average sale prices dipped four percent. The average price of a single family home sold within the VIREB region in January was $318,202, down from the January 2012 average price of $332,270. The number of housing units reported sold last month were down compared to a year ago. In January 2012 there were 216 single family homes sold, in comparison 185 unit sales were recorded in January 2013.

“Some consumers continued to take a wait and see approach in January,” explained Cameron Muir, Chief Economist with the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). “However, this lull in home buying activity will likely be short-lived as the underlying economic fundamentals suggest a more active spring marketplace.”
As of the end of January 2013 there were 2,137 single family homes available on the Multiple Listing Service® within VIREB’s coverage area, down slightly from the 2,168 homes in the system at the end of January 2012.

“It has to be pointed out that our housing inventory is showing signs of shrinking and by the very nature of supply and demand - with fewer properties on the market there is a corresponding increase in sales activity for those reduced number of properties,” said VIREB President Gary Gray. “We’re on the cusp of some potential improvement in the marketplace. The market appears to be stabilizing and we anticipate sales will trend higher throughout the year.”

Comparing January 2013 to January 2012, the average sale prices across VIREB's six zones saw: Campbell River decrease eight percent to $274,131, the Comox Valley dipped four percent to $330,947, Nanaimo’s average sales price dropped 12 percent to $316,620 from the January 2012 average price of $360,799, Parksville/Qualicum prices were up one percent to $343,930, Port Alberni/West Coast was up by a dramatic 26 percent to $261,449 while the Cowichan Valley was down four percent to $338,455. In terms of unit sales year to year a wide disparity continued to occur among the different zones last month. The Campbell River region recorded a 31 percent decrease in unit sales while Parksville/Qualicum unit sales were up four percent compared to January 2012. Cowichan Valley recorded a 19 percent decrease in unit sales on a year to year basis, Comox Valley sales were down 18 percent, Nanaimo sales declined 11 percent while Port Alberni/West Coast’s sales activity was virtually unchanged from a year ago. Local factors continue to play a major role in determining prices so it is always recommended to contact a local REALTOR® to receive an accurate picture of sales trends in your area.

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