Home sales were ‘brisk’ in March says the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board in a month-end report.
“VIREB’s real estate market set a brisk pace in March, with buyer demand outpacing supply in most markets,” said VIREB President Margo Hoffman.
The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board covers Vancouver Island outside the Greater Victoria area.
Last March, 520 single-family homes sold compared to 420 sales in March 2015, an increase of 24 per cent. Month over month, sales were up by 29 per cent from the 406 sales processed in February 2016.
Last month’s active listings totaled 1,599, down 26 per cent from the 2,167 reported in March 2015.
BC Real Estate Association Economist Brendon Ogmundson said the robust market conditions occurring throughout the province are reflective of British Columbia’s vibrant economy.
The provincial economy is the strongest in Canada, with GDP growth expected to be around three per cent this year. Extremely strong construction activity, surging retail sales, and the highest job growth in three years are key economic drivers fueling the bustling real estate market.
“Although we’ve been saying that the housing market can’t continue at this pace indefinitely, there are no signs that point to a slowdown,” said Ogmundson.
He noted that although single-family homes are still the most popular property type, changing demographics could shift that trend in the next decade.
“Over the next ten years, there will be around 200,000 people between the ages of 20 and 49 in the province, so we expect that demand for townhouses and condominiums will increase,” said Ogmundson.
Hoffman said that it has been several years since realtors on the Island have been this busy, but low inventory continues to be a major challenge in the VIREB area.
Multiple offers, particularly on single-family homes, are common occurrences.
“Our market is in definite seller’s territory, and we just don’t have enough inventory,” said Hoffman.
Despite rising prices, Hoffman noted that the VIREB housing market is still very affordable compared to Victoria and Lower Mainland communities.
In March the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $350,400, up seven per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.
Duncan reported a benchmark price of $310,700, an increase of 8.23 per cent over the same month in 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 5.95 per cent to $367,000.