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.