Vancouver Island’s house sales are heating up.

New numbers from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board show that island-wide, sales of single-family homes jumped last month.

They rose by 15 per cent year over year and were 49 per cent higher than in January. 

Last month, 260 houses sold on the Multiple Listing Service system compared to 174 in January and 227 one year ago. 

The same can’t be said for condos and townhouses, though.

Apartment sales in February dropped by 19 per cent year over year, while the number of townhouses sold was down by 10 per cent from one year ago. 

Meanwhile, the benchmark price of a house, board-wide, was $516,500 in February, a three per cent increase from one year ago but only marginally higher than in January. 

Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. 

In the apartment category, the year-over-year benchmark price rose by five per cent, hitting $310,800, which is slightly higher than the previous month. 

The benchmark price of a townhouse in February rose by two per cent year over year and was a bit higher than in January, climbing to $411,200. 

Regionally, the benchmark price of a house in Campbell River last month was $442,000, which is up four per cent from 2019. 

In the Comox Valley, it reached $517,600, which is two per cent higher than a year ago. 

The board still believes that February sales are “a positive sign that buyers are feeling optimistic as we head into spring, which is historically a busy time for real estate.”

Board president Kevin Reid said in the mid-north island, we’re seeing a balanced market that helps both buyers and sellers.

“Inventory is building, we have dedicated buyers, so buyers who are ready to purchase in the market, and we’ve got sellers reacting to the pricing concerns,” Reid said. “I think they’re both getting into the market looking to make the deal that works for them and I think there are going to be lots of opportunities for both sides.”

Looking north, Reid said places like Port Hardy, Port McNeill, and Port Alice are “gems” for potential buyers.

“Such natural beauty on the land and the house pricing is very affordable, so I think it’s very attractive to a certain type of B.C. resident.”

He adds that another “positive outcome” is the predicted changes to the benchmark rate used in stress tests for mortgages

“We’re going to see a return to five per cent downpayment, which is excellent, and we’re going to see some relaxing of the stress test rules for first time buyers and buyers who comfortably meet the five per cent downpayment,” Reid said.