Vancouver Island housing sales cooled somewhat last month following what proved to be a sizzling July.
“We’ve actually had a surprisingly good summer,” said Jayson Finlayson, president-elect of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board.
“We came out of a slower fall/winter market, and summer typically is a slow time for us. However, that being said we had a strong July, much stronger than the previous year. We’ve had a little bit of a slowdown in August, but that’s coming off a pretty strong July.”
MLS sales in the VIREB coverage area was down eight per cent in August from the same month in 2013, with 361 single-family homes sold last month compared to 454 in July.
There were 64 sales of single-family units in the Cowichan Valley in August, down from 92 in July. The average sale price for Cowichan Valley homes was $336,878, a three per cent increase from August 2013.
Finlayson attributes the strong sales to improved consumer confidence and said the conditions currently reflect a balanced market.
“The economy is bouncing back somewhat. It’s been a long slog to get here but we are seeing some gains in the economy, which is nice,” he said. “If that continues, we may see an increase in interest rates as well. If they start to rise we’re going to see that initial impact as more sales I would imagine.”
Vancouver Island’s benchmark price for a single-family home was $315,500 in August, an increase of 0.6 per cent over last year. The benchmark price for a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $266,800, up 2.5 per cent over this time last year; in the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $325,400, marking an increase of one per cent over last year; Duncan reports a benchmark price of $277,300, down 3.7 per cent compared to last year; Nanaimo’s benchmark price was $331,400, up 0.6 per cent from last year; Parksville/Qualicum has a benchmark price of $359,900, up three per cent over last year; and the price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni is listed at $195,100, down 0.6 per cent from last year.
Finlayson said the Island’s various regions each have their unique characteristics and conditions can vary from one end of the Island to the other.
“Our lower end of the market, say from $200,000 to $300,000 for single family, seems to be the hotspot in the market for us [in the Cowichan Valley],” he said. “For Victoria and Nanaimo, not so much. They say it’s more the middle range of their market and some of the upper range stuff as well.”