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MARKET UPDATE: October 31 /2021

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  • Photograph of Nancy Smith
  • Qualicum Beach REALTOR®
  • Published: Nov 3rd, 2021 at 9:44 am

NOVEMBER 1, 2021


The predominant theme running through the housing market in the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) area is one of “different month, same issues.” By category, 398 single-family homes sold in October, a 23 three per cent decrease from one year ago. There were 122 condo apartment sales last month, a six per cent decrease from October 2020. In the row/townhouse category, 88 units sold compared to 98 the previous October.

However, there is little doubt that a dearth of active listings is causing the sales decline. Buyers continue to face frustrating hurdles caused by historically low inventory, with little relief in sight.

Active listings of single-family homes were 46 per cent lower last month than in October 2020 and dropped by 18 per cent from September. VIREB’s inventory of condo apartments declined by 63 per cent from one year ago and was 26 per cent lower than in September. However, there was some positive news for townhouse buyers. While active listings in this category dropped by 39 per cent year over year, inventory increased by 13 per cent from September.

In its most recent housing forecast, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) stated that the supply situation is especially severe in markets outside the Lower Mainland, including Vancouver Island. Listings activity has been lacklustre, and even if sales come back down to long-run average levels, total listings would need to nearly double to bring markets back into balance. The road to doubling those listings lies in increasing the housing supply. “Unless demand drops significantly or more inventory comes online through new construction, VIREB’s inventory situation likely won’t improve,” says Ian Mackay, 2021 VIREB President. Mackay welcomes the news that the Government of British Columbia is giving local governments more tools and powers to simplify and speed up their development approvals processes, helping to build the homes people need more quickly. “Real estate is all about supply and demand. New construction isn’t a quick solution, but it’s the only one that can address the housing shortage, and, hopefully, temper prices,” said Mackay.

The board-wide benchmark price of a single-family home reached $757,300 in October, up 31 per cent year over year. In the apartment category, the benchmark price hit $397,200 last month, a 30 per cent increase from October 2020. The benchmark price of a townhouse was up by 34 per cent year over year.

In Campbell River, the benchmark price of a single-family home hit $663,000 in October, up by 29 per cent from the previous year. In the Comox Valley, the year-over-year benchmark price rose by 31 per cent to $779,000. The Cowichan Valley reported a benchmark price of $756,900, an increase of 30 per cent from October 2020. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose by 28 per cent, hitting $755,500, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 34 per cent to $887,300. The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $504,000, a 36 per cent year-over-year increase. The benchmark price for the North Island rose by 55 per cent, hitting $418,800 in September

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