COURTENAY, B.C- Homes are getting more expensive but fewer people are buying them in the Comox Valley, according to more data from a recently released Discover Comox Valley report.

The average price of a house in the Comox Valley jumped 7.8 per cent over the past year, from $496,432 to $535,072.

Apartments also rose in price from July 2017 to July 2018, from $267,536 to $314,161.

But house sales dipped 13.5 per cent in July compared to July 2017 while apartment sales dipped eight per cent last month compared to the previous July.

Courtenay mayor Larry Jangula said the rising price in real estate comes down to supply and demand.

“Not a lot really that city hall can do to address that stuff,” Jangula said.

Jangula said sellers in the Comox Valley are getting offers over asking price “which has never happened before.”

“It’s a troubling trend,” he said.

“People who have sold their houses for good money in Victoria and the Lower Mainland are looking for other places to invest.”

Courtenay and the rest of the Comox Valley is becoming a popular destination for mainlanders, Jangula said.

“We had a meeting at the regional district a couple of weeks ago and a realtor spoke there and said that at any given time, there aren’t even 10 building lots available if you were to come and look for a lot to buy to build on, that are on the market. I’m not saying there aren’t lots around but there aren’t lots that are on the market itself.”

Jangula said real estate trends are “very hard to predict.”

“When I started out in the housing industry in the 1970s, housing prices were basically based on your ability to pay in the local community, but that’s just not the case anymore,” he said. “People from other countries and other parts of the country are coming and I guess they find our real estate prices not to be excessive to their standards.”

The report also found:

  •  The Comox Valley is predicted to grow 1.1 per cent to 73,002 residents in 2026 from 66,527 in 2016, the last time a population census was taken.
  • Sixty-three per cent of Comox Valley residents  between the ages of 25 to 64 have either a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree, while 26 per cent have a high school diploma, and 10 per cent have no diploma, certificate, or degree.
  • Courtenay has the highest unemployment rate in the valley at 11 per cent, followed by Cumberland (7.6 per cent) and Comox (7.4 per cent). Canada’s unemployment rate is 7.8 per cent.