In terms of housing sales 2018 ended with more whimper than it did bang – according to information released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB). During the month of December a total of 170 homes changed hands across Vancouver Island, a drop of 48 percent when compared to December 2017, and 44 percent lower than the number of homes reported sold during November.
VIREB reported that in December 2017 a total of 328 homes were sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System, while in November 304 sales transactions occurred. The slumping sales weren’t restricted solely to single family homes as townhouse sales dipped two percent when compared to a year ago, with apartment sales plunging a full 65 percent year over year.
Looking at the year overall, during 2018 4,543 single family homes were sold within VIREB’s coverage area (which extends from the Malahat in the south to the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island) a drop of 19 percent when compared to 2017.
One bright spot in the real estate marketplace is the size of the available housing inventory, currently pegged at 941 properties. This figure represents a jump of 23 percent when compared to December 2017 when only 761 properties were available for sale. This expanding pool of homes has provided buyers with a wide range of housing options.
Surprisingly, despite a drop in sales, housing prices continued to rise all across Vancouver Island last year. VIREB uses benchmark pricing to track the value of typical homes in each of its separate zones and without exception prices were higher in each when compared to a year ago.
The board-wide benchmark price of a single-family home in December was listed at $506,300, which is an increase of 10 percent when compared to December 2017. The board-wide price of an apartment last month was up 13 percent year over year to $319,000. The benchmark price of townhomes finished the year at $411,500, an increase of 12 percent over the same month last year – but down slightly from November’s benchmark price.
Housing price increases were reported all across Vancouver Island last month. In Nanaimo for example the December benchmark price of a single family home reached $538,300 – which is seven percent higher than it was a year ago, but is actually down two percent from November 2018.
In the Parksville / Qualicum area the benchmark price climbed 11 percent to $580,500, with the benchmark price of a home sold in the Duncan area reported as $466,600, an increase of 10 percent when compared to December 2017.
The benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area climbed 13 percent in December to hit $414,600, while in the Comox Valley the benchmark price climbed 10 percent to $508,100. In the Alberni Valley the benchmark price was up 20 percent form a year ago, finishing 2018 at $299,000, which is actually four percent lower than the November benchmark price.
So what does it all mean? In a market as volatile and as quickly changing as Vancouver Island’s its more important than ever to rely on the skills and experience of a professional REALTOR® to guide you when buying or selling a property. Give Peter and Kathy a call today to learn more about today’s dynamic real estate marketplace.