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Local real estate market ‘doing quite well,’ says VIREB incoming president

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The local real market is holding steady, despite other areas being mired in winter doldrums.

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) incoming president, Kevin Reid, said sales on the mid-and-north island have been quite good. 

“We have been up in unit sales and up a small amount in pricing across the Comox Valley, Campbell River and the North Island, where the South Island has not been as strong in number of houses sold, and also the Lower Mainland has not been as strong in number of houses sold, so per capita, we’re doing actually quite well,” Reid said.

Reid said the beauty, lifestyle, and affordable prices are drawing buyers to the region.

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Island-wide, however, sales of single-family homes rose by three percent in November compared to the same time last year, but were down nine percent from October.

Apartment and townhouse sales dipped by eight per cent and 33 per cent, respectively.

Last month, 312 single-family homes sold on the MLS system, compared to 343 the previous month and 304 in November 2018. 

Meanwhile, inventory of single-family homes in November rose by eight per cent from one year ago (1,065 to 1,155), the lowest since March, which saw 1,172 properties for sale. 

Active listings of apartments increased by 15 per cent (319 to 368) year over year while townhouse inventory dropped by 31 per cent (177 to 123).

In the Comox Valley, 49 single-family homes changed hands last month, compared to 62 in October and 48 in November 2018.

Sales of single-family homes held steady in Campbell River. There were 33 deals made last month compared to 35 in October and 30 last November.

Reid is calling it a buyers market.

“The market is quite balanced but there is a slight edge to the buyers side in the negotiations,” he said. 

He added that houses are selling for fair value recently, partially because there aren’t as many buyers as there once were, and sellers who want to make a deal have to cooperate.

The B.C. Real Estate Association reports that after a slow start to 2019, home sales, province-wide climbed in the spring.

It credits this to buyers “adjusting to market shocks” sparked by tighter mortgage rules and provincial tax policies.

The benchmark price of a single-family home Vancouver Island-wide was $517,100 in November, a three per cent increase from one year ago and down slightly from October. 

In the apartment category, the year-over-year benchmark price rose three per cent, hitting $297,000 but down one per cent from October. 

The average price of a townhouse was up two per cent year over year, climbing to $405,700 last month and slightly higher than in October.

Regionally, the benchmark price of a single-family home in Campbell River last month was $440,200, an increase of five per cent over November 2018. 

In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price reached $530,200, up by five per cent from one year ago. 

Meanwhile, realtors are saying buyers are now price-savvy, not in a hurry, and willing to walk away from deals. 

Some buyers and sellers are also choosing to wait until spring, hoping for more favourable conditions.

“Accurate pricing continues to be the key to a quick sale,” says VIREB president Kaye Broens. “Overpriced properties tend to linger.”

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