Island Real Estate Market Bouncing Back

The latest statistics from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) make something very clear: even a global pandemic can’t discourage Vancouver Island homebuyers. In its most recent summary VIREB reported that a total of 1,101 properties of all types traded hands last month on Vancouver Island – an increase of 39 percent from the same month last year.

During August 2020 a total of 547 single family homes were reported sold within VIREB’s coverage area, up a full 35 percent from the number sold during the same month last year. Sales spikes were recorded in the other major housing categories as well, with townhouse sales up 19 percent year over year, and condominium / apartment sales increasing a full 43 percent from August 2019’s totals.

Potential buyers have plenty of homes to choose from as well, with VIREB reporting that currently there are 1,729 properties of all types available for sale within the real estate board’s territory, which extends from the Malahat in the south to the northern end of Vancouver Island. This total inventory includes 1,081 single family homes, 427 condominium / apartments and 221 townhouses.

VIREB uses benchmark pricing to track the value of typical homes in each of its individual zones, with the board-wide benchmark price of a single family home reaching $533,300 in August, a three percent increase from a year ago. Board-wide price increases were reported in all major housing categories. The board-wide benchmark price of apartments climbed five percent to $312,000 while the benchmark price of townhouses increased by four percent to $432,300, a slight rise over July’s price.

Price increases were reported in all of VIREB’s individual zones, such as in Nanaimo where the August benchmark price of a single family home was $575,100, an increase of five percent from last August. Moving south to north, in the Malahat / Mill Bay area the benchmark price of a single family home was up seven percent to reach $610,200, while in the Cowichan Valley the benchmark price was up one percent, hitting $489,200.

In the Parksville / Qualicum Beach area the benchmark price of a single family home last month was reported as $608,300, an increase of three percent from August 2019’s price. In the Alberni Valley the benchmark price was up four percent year over year, reaching $329,100, while in the Comox Valley the benchmark price of single family homes sold had climbed three percent from last year to reach $537,300.

Further north in Campbell River, the benchmark price of a single family home was $455,600, up two percent, while in the North Island area the benchmark price reached $221,000, a significant 11 percent increase over the single family home price reported a year ago.

This increase in listings, inventory and prices all combine to tell the same story – that pandemic fears are down and interest from homebuyers is on the way up – all across Vancouver Island. Now’s the ideal time to be either a buyer or a seller, as the market is expected to get even hotter in the months to come.

Tips to Help Prevent Heat Stroke

Nanaimo’s climate isn’t typically one that includes an abundance of sunshine – which is why the summer months can be such a welcome change. However that sudden wealth of warmth and sunlight can bring with it some potentially serious health risks in the form of Heat Stroke.

Interchangeably referred to as Heat Exhaustion, heat stroke occurs after long exposure to high temperatures, something that can easily occur at the beach, picnicking at a park and even when doing yard work on a hot day. Excessive heat can drive the individual’s body temperature far higher than is safe, and can (in extreme cases) lead to organ failure and even death.

The symptoms of heat stroke include headaches, dizziness, excessive sweating, muscle cramps, skin that is moist with goose bumps, feeling especially tired or faint, stomach aches and nausea and a weak but rapid pulse. Heat stroke can reduce blood pressure when standing and can cause some people to pass out. Vigorous physical activity, such as sports or manual labour can accelerate the symptoms. High humidity weather can also play a role in fostering heat stroke.

Fortunately there are a number of things an individual can do to prevent or at last reduce the impact of this seasonal malady. Chief among these is to dress for the weather, rather than for fashion. On a hot summer day it’s important to wear light, loose-fitting clothing. Excessive clothing or wearing clothing that’s too tight prevents the body from cooling naturally. Airflow helps to keep the body cool and healthy.

While a summer tan can be appealing, too much sunshine can burn unprotected flesh. Sunburned flesh inhibits the body from cooling itself, making the individual more susceptible to heat stroke. When outdoors, whether at the beach or just in your own backyard, it’s important to wear a loose-fitting wide-brimmed hat. It’s also a good idea to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare and damage.

Suntan lotion is a vital part of any heat stroke prevention campaign. If you’re planning to be outdoors for an extended period the use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 or higher is essential. Many health care professionals actually recommend using suntan lotion with an SPF of 18 or more for added protection. Apply the sunscreen generously and do so about every two hours, or more frequently if sweating excessively and especially if you’ve been swimming.

Keeping hydrated is also important to prevent heat stroke. By remaining hydrated the body will have the means to sweat, which aids the natural cooling process. If planning to be outside in the sun always remember to drink plenty of fluids. Consuming alcohol however is not recommended as it can actually accelerate the dehydration process. Remaining hydrated is especially vital for individuals routinely taking medication as certain medications can actually impact the body’s ability to dissipate heat.

These are just a few tips to help reduce the potential for heat stroke this summer. Do your own research and develop a plan that works for you and your individual lifestyle. Nanaimo’s summer may be short, but it’s always enjoyable. Don’t let heat stroke prevent you from making the most of these long summer days.

Buyers Hungry for Single Family Homes

While the sale of other housing styles across Vancouver Island may be down, buyers continue to have an increasing appetite for single family homes. According to the latest statistics released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB), a total of 574 single family homes were reported sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) system last month – during the same month last year only 554 single family homes changed hands.

The sales activity wasn’t so rosy when it came to other Vancouver Island housing styles. For example the sale of condominium / apartments was down 14 percent when compared to a year ago, while in the townhouse category the number of sales had slid a full 16 percent when compared to July 2019.

VIREB’s statistical report also indicated that a robust supply of properties of all types is currently available for sale on Vancouver Island. As of July a total of 2,307 were listed for sale on the MLS® system, including 1,605 single family homes, 436 apartments and 266 townhouses.

Despite the dip in sales activity (impacted no doubt by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic) housing prices continued to climb across the Island. VIREB (with a coverage area that extends from the Malahat in the south to the northern tip of Vancouver Island) uses benchmark pricing to track the value of typical homes in each of its separate zones.

Last month the board-wide benchmark price of a single family home hit $545,700, a two percent rise from June 2020 and a six percent increase from the same month last year. The board-wide benchmark price of apartments sold over the MLS® system last month was up four percent year-over-year, reaching $312,800 – a slight rise over the June benchmark price. The board-wide benchmark price of townhouses also rose by four percent from July 2019 to end the month at $425,800, an incremental dip from the June price.

According to the VIREB stats housing prices rose year-over-year in each of the real estate board’s individual areas. In Nanaimo for example the July benchmark price climbed a full seven percent to reach $593,600 last month when compared to a year ago. In the Parksville / Qualicum Beach area the benchmark price was reported as $604,900, an increase of two percent over the same month last year.

In the Cowichan Valley the July benchmark price was up six percent hitting $500,200 while in the Comox Valley the benchmark price of a single family home climbed eight percent last month (when compared to the same month last year) to reach $557,500. Further north in Campbell River the benchmark price was listed as $456,000, a rise of five percent while in the Alberni Valley the July benchmark price of a single family home was up seven percent from a year ago to close the month at $342,700.

In times of such change and market volatility it’s vital to have a sales professional on your side when making a real estate purchase. Call Peter and Kathy today to begin your exploration of the Vancouver Island real estate marketplace.

Nanaimo’s Most Infamous Resident

Over its history the City of Nanaimo has had its fair share of interesting and controversial characters – but none have garnered the reputation for infamy generated by the notorious Brother XII. Born in Birmingham, England in 1878, the future religious fanatic, conman and cult leader’s actual name was Edward Arthur Wilson. He had been born into what was described as a very religious family – so religious in fact he later claimed he had been visited by angels as a child.

Regardless of the veracity of the statement, whether devious or Devine, Wilson’s interest in all things different saw him depart his homeland for a life at sea. Serving as a working mariner for many years he travelled the world, making his first stop in Canada as early as 1905. But his interest in the otherworldly also encouraged a lifelong interest in the study of religions of the world, with him fervently embracing those elements he found attractive.

His voyage of self-discovery culminated in 1924 in the South of France when, according to his own published accounts, he had a vision from God that set him on his chosen path as a religious leader. Adopting the non de plume of Brother XII he founded what he called the Aquarian Foundation in 1927, a religious sect based loosely on the teachings of the Theosophical Society, which is a global philosophic course of study with roots dating back to the 3rd Century AD.

Publishing two booklets that outlined his beliefs he began to attract interest and followers, including a number of socially-prominent (and wealthy) individuals. Thanks to his powerful personality and Messianic quality he was able to convince his disciples to donate funds toward the establishment of a colony where his teachings could be expanded on.

Purchasing property at Cedar-by-the-Sea just south of Nanaimo, as well as additional acreage on nearby Valdes and De Courcy Islands, Brother XII’s spiritual community began to grow and attract acolytes from across North America. While local myths and rumors suggest that the Aquarian Foundation was a hotbed for debauchery and other depraved activity, few know what actually occurred at the colony. What is certain is that the organization grew very wealthy, and Brother XII himself grew more dictatorial and paranoid as time went on.

At one point Brother XII had a member of his flock imprisoned in a cellar on the northern end of Valdes Island for some imagined slight. This unfortunate was able to somehow escape and using a stolen rowboat made his way to Nanaimo where he reported the event to what was then the British Columbia Provincial Police. An investigation followed, but no charges were laid. This descent into madness eventually precipitated what was in essence an uprising among the colony’s members, as they increasingly grew disenchanted with the message and attitude of their leader.

The collapse of the colony continued until 1929 when the Aquarian Foundation was formally dissolved, even though many loyal followers and even new adherents continued to follow his increasingly erratic teachings. Finally a formal rebellion occurred with many of Brother XII’s former followers filing legal actions against him in a forlorn attempt to recover some of their lost money.

In what can only be described as a violent reaction to their efforts, the sometimes described “Devil of De Courcy” set about destroying the colony he built, smashing buildings and even scuttling his sailboat the Lady Royal. Avoiding all prosecution Brother XII and his lover Mabel Skottowe (sometimes known as Madame Z) fled the area aboard their tugboat the Kheunaten, in time making their way to Europe where allegedly he died in Neuchâtel, Switzerland in 1934.

Some scholars of Wilson’s history say the erstwhile Brother XII only faked his demise, having fled the area with a fortune of ill-gotten gold and silver – but like all myths concrete proof has proven difficult to find. What is certain is that Edward Arthur Wilson (aka Brother XII) has forever earned a place in Nanaimo’s long and colorful history. A sinner or a saint, the verdict is still out on Wilson’s final description.

Vancouver Island’s Abundance of Lakes

A natural advantage that comes from Vancouver Island’s relatively damp climate is the sheer abundance of rivers, lakes and ponds that can be found dotted all across its expansive landmass. Nanaimo residents have long enjoyed the beauty and recreational potential of local lakes such as Diver, Long and Westwood Lakes, while the rugged splendor of the Nanaimo Lakes, located to the south of the city, not only serves as a source of outdoor adventure, they also provide much of the community’s drinking water.

As popular and appealing as these water courses are they are relative dwarves in comparison to some of the larger lakes that can be found across Vancouver Island’s more than 31,000 square kilometer (nearly 12,000 square mile) expanse. Cowichan Lake, Shawnigan Lake, Buttle Lake, Nimpkish and Campbell Lakes are all much larger than any local lake – but they in turn are also diminutive when compared to some of the true giants found on Vancouver Island.

By a considerable margin Kennedy Lake, located just north of Ucluelet on the Island’s central west coast is the largest lake on the Island. Named after Sir Arthur Kennedy who was the last governor of what was then the Colony of Vancouver Island, Kennedy Lake covers more than 6,500 hectares of area, (16,000 acres) and was formed thanks to the confluence of the Clayoquot and Kennedy Rivers.

Outflow from the lake to the ocean traverses a short portion of the Kennedy River flowing into nearby Tofino Inlet. The lake also features an extensive northern arm that is called Clayoquot Arm. The lake is located in part on the ancestral lands of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, one of a number of distinct First Nations peoples who have resided on the Island’s west coast for millennia.

An area prized for its natural beauty and recreational potential, much of the region around Kennedy Lake is protected from forestry activities thanks to the creation of a number of adjacent parks. Some of the primary parks in the lake’s immediate area include the world-famous Pacific Rim National Park, Clayoquot Plateau Provincial Park, Clayoquot Arm Provincial Park, Kennedy Lake Provincial Park, and Kennedy River Bog Provincial Park.

A prized destination for outdoor enthusiasts of every type, Kennedy Lake appeals to boaters and sports fishers, and is a vital spawning habitat for sockeye and various species of salmon, and trout.

Another of Vancouver Island’s major fresh water attractions is the Great Central Lake, considered one of the Island’s top recreational destinations. Located only a few kilometers from Port Alberni, the Great Central Lake is 35 kilometers (nearly 22 miles) long, with an area of 49 square kilometers (19 square miles) and is up to 333 meters (1,100 feet) deep, making it Vancouver Island’s deepest.

Long and narrow in shape, except for Trestle Bay at its eastern end, the Great Central Lake is idyllically located nestled beneath low mountains surrounded by verdant stands of second-growth timber. Thanks to its steep and rugged shoreline the area around the lake has been left virtually undeveloped. The lake’s depth is controlled by a dam located along its eastern side which ensures that water levels will remain controlled and consistent regardless of the season.

Vancouver Island’s expansive inventory of lakes is just one of the myriad natural wonders that have helped to make the Island a true world-class visitor destination.

Island Housing Sales on the Rebound

It’s not ‘business as usual’, but Vancouver Island REALTORS® have certainly learned how to work effectively in a pandemic-impacted marketplace. In its latest statistical report the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) showed that the ongoing effort has paid off in a big way, with June housing sales up sharply from May in all residential categories, while posting numbers that were actually higher than those recorded a year ago.

The VIREB stats showed that during June 479 single family homes were sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System, up sharply from the 246 sold in May, and even higher than the 406 homes that traded hands during June 2019. In addition the sale of apartments across the Island during June was up 59 percent from May, and three percent higher than from the same month last year. Townhouse sales were up a whopping 118 percent from May, while being three percent higher than June 2019’s townhouse sales.

The inventory of available properties within VIREB’s coverage area, which extends from the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island to the Malahat in the south, dropped a full 23 percent last month when compared to the same month last year. During June there were 1,224 single family homes on the market, a year ago there were 1,598.

The number of townhouses for sale on Vancouver Island also dipped, by three percent year-over-year to 183. In June 2019 a total of 189 townhouses were on the market. Apartment listings however were actually up by a full 22 percent last month. In June 2019 there were 353 apartments listed for sale while last month that number had risen to 431.

VIREB also reported that housing prices continued to rise last month in all categories. The real estate board uses benchmark pricing to track the value of typical homes in each of its individual zones, with the board-wide benchmark price of a single family home rising four percent during June, to close the month at $534,800.

The board-wide benchmark price of apartments sold on the MLS® System last month was up three percent from a year ago, hitting $312,600, which is actually down two percent from May’s price. In the townhouse category the June benchmark price was up two percent year-over-year at $419,700 – an incremental drop from May.

Benchmark price increases were recorded in each of VIREB’s individual zones, such as in Nanaimo where the price of a single family home rose three percent from last year to reach $576,000. In the Parksville / Qualicum Beach area the benchmark price was up slightly to $597,800, while in the Cowichan Valley the price was up three percent from June 2019 to hit $486,400.

In the Comox Valley the benchmark price of a single family home was up six percent from last year, reaching $552,200. Further north in Campbell River the price was $449,200, a three percent year-over-year increase, while in the Alberni Valley the benchmark price was up seven percent to close the month at $337,000.

Last month’s renewed real estate activity demonstrates the resiliency and adaptability of the Island’s REALTORS®, who were able to function effectively, even during these unprecedented times. It’s crucial to have an experienced professional on your side in any real estate transaction, so contact Peter and Kathy today to begin your journey.

Time to Become a Tourist in your Own Town

While June is certainly here, it’s clearly unlike any June ever experienced before. The global pandemic has seen shrinkage of the business sector and a concern over the risks of public gatherings that have curtailed most of the activities associated with the summer season. Travel to the United States and elsewhere is for all intents and purposes non-existent, except for essential services. Even popular local venues such as city owned recreational facilities remain shuttered during these unprecedented times.

With traditional choices for summer time fun severely curtailed the only real answer is to find your fun and entertainment much closer to home. The summer of 2020 is, by necessity, going to become remembered as the summer of the Staycation.

Many of the region’s restaurants and bars are slowly reopening, aided by outdoor patios and other modified means of spacing patrons in a much more ‘social distancing’ friendly way. Of course take out menus have become more important than ever, so this is a great time to experience that eatery you were always meaning to try.

Vancouver Island is a beautiful natural treasure, with hundreds of lakes, parks, beaches and trails that can be explored without crowding. The City of Nanaimo itself has more than 880 hectares of parkland set aside with more than 170 kilometers of trails to venture on. Nearly 150 parks, playing fields and outdoor destinations can be found throughout the city – why not visit the city’s website to discover more about this exceptional resource?

But outdoor journeys don’t have to be limited solely to the City of Nanaimo. Did you know there are nearly 130 provincial parks scattered across Vancouver Island? From massive to miniscule and from easily accessible to very challenging, the Island’s catalog of outdoor destinations is certain to offer something for everyone. Again, if already cloistered in your home, this is the perfect time to do some research and develop your own personal list of ‘must see’ spots to visit.

Speaking of regional research, while the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s (VIRL) branches have been closed during the past few months, its online resources and tools have been heavily used by the Island’s self-isolating pubic. During June the library is hoping to begin offering curbside service for books, videos and other materials – making the summer the perfect time to read that book you’ve always meaning to do. The VIRL also has an extensive collection of local history and activity books – tomes that both educate and inspire you when making your personal summer plans.

Of course sometimes recreation can be found right in your own backyard. Many people are using these unusual circumstances to carry out long planned, but always delayed yard work or household renovations. Always want to put in a vegetable garden, or install a back yard barbecue pit but didn’t have the time? Well, you do now!

You could also upgrade your mind or body this summer, thanks to online educational opportunities being offered by regional educational institutions, or self-directed fitness programs found in abundance on the Internet. In reality, even though the usual events or activities that mark the summer months are missing, there’s still plenty to do if you just take a few moments and conduct some research. You might be surprised at how much there actually is to do right near your own home.

COVID Had Impact On May Housing Sales

While the ongoing COVID-19 health crises did negatively impact housing sales across Vancouver Island last month, the downturn wasn’t as severe as it might have been. According to the latest statistical information released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) a total of 246 single family homes were sold within VIREB’s coverage area (which extends from the Malahat in the south to the northern tip of Vancouver Island) during May.

Despite the fact that total was down dramatically from the 456 homes that traded hands on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System during May 2019, it was actually up from the 189 homes reported sold during April. Likewise, while apartment sales were down 56 percent and townhouse sales were down 70 percent year-over-year last month, they were both up markedly from the number of units reported sold during April.

During the month of May a total of 44 apartments were sold on the MLS® System. In the month previous only 17 apartments were reported sold. While VIREB did not release the number of townhouses sold on the MLS® last month, it did report that sales were up 65 percent from those recorded during April.

VIREB also reported that there was some fluctuation in the inventory of available properties on Vancouver Island last month. The supply of single family homes on the market during May was pegged at 1,282, a drop of 14 percent over May 2019 when 1,486 single family homes were available for purchase.

However there were 21 percent more apartments on the block than there were a year ago, 410 as compared to the 339 available in May 2019. The number of townhouses for sale in May was listed as 178, which is four percent fewer than the 185 on the market a year ago.

Housing prices on Vancouver Island continued its upward movement last month. VIREB uses benchmark pricing to track the value of typical homes in each of its individual zones. During May the board-wide benchmark price of a single family home was listed as $528,800, which is a three percent increase from last May, and an incremental rise over April 2020.

The board-wide benchmark price of apartments sold on the MLS® System was also up three percent to $306,400, a one percent dip from April’s price. The board-wide benchmark price of townhouses sold last month was up three percent from May 2019, reaching $423,300. This was slightly higher than the benchmark price reported during April.

Price hikes were reported in each of VIREB’s zones, such as in Nanaimo where the benchmark price of a single family home was up three percent year-over-year to $575,300. In the Parksville / Qualicum Beach area the benchmark price was up slightly to $594,800, while in the Cowichan Valley the benchmark price was listed as $482,100, a rise of three percent from the same month last year.

In the Comox Valley the benchmark price of a single family home was up two percent from last year, being listed as $532,000. Further north in Campbell River the benchmark price was up five percent to $449,900, while in the Alberni Valley the benchmark price was up six percent year-over-year, reaching $331,200.

No one can realistically predict the course of the current pandemic – and how this ongoing health crisis will influence the state of the real estate marketplace. The only certainty is that now more than ever buyers and sellers will need the services of real estate sales professionals when making a property transaction. Call Peter and Kathy today to learn more about buying and selling on Vancouver Island.

Global Pandemic Strikes Real Estate Sector

It should come as a surprise to no one that the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic has severely impacted the real estate sector – as it has virtually every other aspect of the world’s economy. In its latest statistical report the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) states that housing sales across the Island were down substantially last month when compared to a year ago.

The VIREB report shows that 189 single family homes were sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System last month, a drop of 54 percent from a year ago when 412 properties traded hands. In March, before the full influence of the virus could be felt, 333 single family homes were sold on the MLS® System. The dramatic downturn in activity was felt across all styles of housing, with townhouse sales down 69 percent from last year, and apartment sales plunging a full 82 percent year-over-year.

Market uncertainty was also felt in the Island’s inventory of available properties, with the pool of single family homes dropping by nine percent. Last month there were 1,173 properties of this type on the market, compared to the 1,293 single family homes that were available during April 2019.

An interesting statistic is that while the townhouse inventory dropped by 19 percent from last year – from 197 units to last month’s total of 160 – the number of apartments for sale on the MLS® System actually rose by a full 33 percent. During April 403 apartments were listed for sale, compared to the 303 available for purchase during April 2019.

VIREB uses benchmark pricing to track the value of typical homes in each of its individual zones, which extends from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the start of the Malahat in the south. In all of these areas, despite the impact of the virus, year-over-year price increases were recorded last month in virtually all regions.

The board-wide benchmark price of a single family home last month was reported as $523,700 – a number that while three percent lower than the April 2019 benchmark price was slightly higher than the price recorded in March. The board-wide benchmark price of apartments sold within VIREB’s coverage area during April was $313,300, a five percent increase year-over-year, with the townhouse price climbing two percent from last April to $421,400.

Benchmark price increases were reported in all of VIREB’s zones, with Nanaimo’s benchmark price edging up two percent to close the month at $572,200. In the Parksville / Qualicum Beach area the April benchmark price rose two percent year-over-year to $588,800, while in Duncan the benchmark price was $482,800, a marginal increase over the April 2019 price.

In the Comox Valley the benchmark price of a single family home last month was up two percent to $521,300, while further north in Campbell River the price was up four percent to $438,500. In the Alberni Valley the benchmark price was up a full 11 percent from last year, reaching $336,200.

Obviously it is not ‘business as usual’ in any part of the Canadian economy, with real estate being no exception. The only certainty is that things will improve over time, and that real estate is still the soundest investment anyone can make.

Especially in today’s uncertain market it’s important to have professionals on your side when making the biggest purchase of your lifetime. Call Peter and Kathy today to learn more about the local real estate marketplace. We’ll all get through this, together.

Virus Had Minimal Impact on Real Estate Marketplace

While there is definitely great uncertainty over the future economic impact caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its influence didn’t have much of an effect on Vancouver Island housing sales last month.

In its latest statistical report the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) stated that during March 333 single family homes traded hands on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System, up from the 308 properties sold during the same month last year. The March sales figures were also up from the 259 homes reported sold on the MLS® System during February.

While the full brunt of the Coronavirus crises hadn’t been felt until the end of the month, the VIREB stats did indicate that while townhouse sales were up an impressive 40 percent year-over-year from 2019, the number of apartments sold within VIREB’s coverage area (from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the start of the Malahat in the south) was actually down by 44 percent when compared to last year.

Home buyers increasingly have a larger selection of properties to choose from across the Island, as the available housing inventory continued to climb during March. Last month there were 1,181 single family homes on the block on Vancouver Island, up slightly from the 1,174 that were listed for sale a year ago.

In addition, the number of apartments available for purchase last month was up by a full 41 percent from a year ago, with 400 homes of this type listed for sale on the MLS® System. During March 2019 there were only 284 apartments on the market. Interestingly the number of townhouses available actually dropped by 18 percent (from 181 to 147) when compared to the same month last year.

VIREB uses benchmark pricing to track the value of typical homes in each of its separate zones, with the board-wide benchmark price of a single family home hitting $521,400. This is a four percent price hike from last March, and is incrementally higher than the February 2020 price.

The year-over-year Vancouver Island benchmark price of apartments closed the month at $314,700, an increase of seven percent. This price is also slightly higher the February board-wide benchmark price. In the townhouse category the board-wide benchmark price reached $417,900, up four percent from last year and two percent higher than February`s benchmark price.

On a region-by-region basis housing price hikes were reported all across Vancouver Island last month. In Nanaimo for example the benchmark price of a single family home rose by two percent to reach $564,500 last month. In the Parksville / Qualicum Beach area the benchmark price was up four percent to $590,700, while in the Cowichan Valley the March benchmark price was up from last year by two percent to reach $478,700.

In the Comox Valley the benchmark price of a single family home was also up two percent year-over-year to hit $516,800, while further north in Campbell River the benchmark price was up five percent to close the month at $441,300. In the Alberni Valley the benchmark price was up an impressive 12 percent from last March, reaching $328,300.

At present, under the restrictive and uncertain climate of the ongoing health crises, it’s difficult to predict how the real estate marketplace will be impacted. What is certain is that now more than ever the services of experienced real estate sales professionals are an essential part of any real estate transaction. Call Peter and Kathy today to learn more about the state of the local housing market.