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Island house sales holding steady

While the housing market continues to slump on the mainland, the same can’t be said on Vancouver Island.

Sales of single-family homes on the island in July rose by three percent year over year and were 12 percent higher than in June.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board is reporting that housing sales are steady, even brisk in some areas, but certainly less robust than they were in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

The board’s president-elect Kevin Reid said that across much of the island, July was a pretty darned good month for real estate.

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“We had a small uptick in the number of units sold, and actually price went up a little bit,” he said. 

“Prices, in my opinion, went up because the sellers have been responding to the downward pressure on the selling price of their home.”

Reid said sellers in the valley that would list their home for $600,000 two or three months ago would be forced to drop it by as much as $40,000 to get it sold.

“So a $600,000 house is selling for between $560(000) and $580(000) which has caused this slight uptick in average sale price.”

He noted that continues to be a balanced market on the Central and North Island.

“The inventory is starting to rebuild in homes that are for sale, the buyers seem to be motivated to purchase for July… equal opportunity for both buyers and sellers.”

Also boosting the market in communities north of Nanaimo is more buyers migrating to the island from the mainland.

Reid said the island continues to be attractive for people looking to cash in more expensive homes in places like the Lower Mainland.

“We’ve got a lot of people coming out of Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, purchasing quality homes for literally a fraction of what they are in their own hometown,” he said. 

On the other side of the coin, sales on the mainland were 34.7 percent below the 10-year June sales average.

This marks the lowest total for the month since 2000.

“I was visiting the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the discussion amongst the professionals is that a large portion of realtors in the Lower Mainland have not done a deal this year, so that’s very interesting,” Reid said.

Meanwhile, the market is heating up in the Comox Valley.

There were 89 sales of single-family homes in the valley in July, marking a 39 percent jump from the previous July.

But sales slumped a bit in Campbell River, with 44 homes changing hands last month compared to 51 in June and 52 the previous July.

Regionally, the benchmark price of a single-family home in Campbell River last month was $434,300, an increase of six percent over July 2018.

In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price reached $516,200, up by two per from one year ago.

However, several zones experienced small price reductions on single-family homes from June, including Campbell River, Comox Valley, Nanaimo, and Parksville-Qualicum.  

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Reid said historically, the market cools in the fall, and especially in December.

“(It’s) very, very quiet,” he said. “Basically no real estate gets down between the fifth of December and fifth of January. Understandable: people are busy with Christmas and the holiday season.”

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