Shrinking Inventory Impacting Housing Market

Across Vancouver Island last month homes were selling faster and for more money than a year ago – but fewer of them sold due to a shrinking supply of properties available for sale. The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB), which represents all of Vancouver Island north of the Malahat, reported that 540 homes were sold in August as compared to the 622 properties sold during August 2016. That represents a drop of 13 percent from a year ago.

Home sales were also down on a month by month comparison. In July 557 homes sold across the VIREB coverage area, three percent more than the 540 reported sold in August. The real estate board says the reduced size of the housing inventory is responsible for much of the decline as there were simply not enough homes on the marketplace to satisfy the demand.

In August VIREB reported there were 1,349 homes on the market. In August 2016 there were three percent more, with 1,395 homes available for purchase. The prices of the homes that did sell were higher on average than they were last year. In August the benchmark price of a home sold on Vancouver Island was pegged at $457,500, which is 18 percent higher than it was a year ago. The year to year comparison also shows increased interest in all sectors of the marketplace.

For example the benchmark price of an apartment was up a full 28 percent from a year ago, while the average price of townhomes sold within the VIREB area had jumped by a full 27 percent. In some areas this market segment was especially active. In the Cowichan Valley area for example the benchmark price of a townhome had spiked a full 51 percent when compared to 2016 – showing the increased interest in this style of home.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) in its 2017 Third-Quarter Housing Forecast, said the provincial economy had grown quicker than originally anticipated, a trend it expects to see continue throughout the remainder of the year. BCREA’s report said the BC economy has expanded at an above-trend growth rate for over three years, with 2017 expected to be the fourth consecutive year of three per cent or higher economic growth.

The report suggested the provincial employment rate had climbed 3.9 per cent year to date in July as compared to the same period last year. That means there was an increase of over 88,000 jobs in the province over the summer. This increase in employment can have a positive impact on housing sales as well due to a general increase in consumer confidence across the board.

The August 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in Nanaimo was up 18 percent to $492,900, as compared to August 2016. Similar increases were recorded throughout the VIREB coverage area. For example the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 15 percent to $508,200. In Campbell River the benchmark price was $367,000, up 21 percent, in the Comox Valley the benchmark price was up 21 percent to $454,900, while Duncan’s benchmark price was $408,300, an increase of 15 per cent compared to August 2016.

In the final analysis, an increase in consumer interest in purchasing, coupled with a general decline in the supply of homes available for has resulted in an extremely active seller’s market for homes. If interested in buying or selling a home, now is the right time as the economy is buoyant and interest is in home sales has never been higher.