Severe inventory shortage puts pressure on island buyers

Different month, same issues for the Vancouver Island real estate market.

Historically low inventories fueling steadily rising prices have been the norm for months now and October was no exception.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reported 398 single-family homes sold last month, down 23% from a year ago.

There were 122 condominium apartment sales last month, a 6% drop from October 2020. In the townhouse / townhouse category, 88 units sold compared to 98 in the previous October.

VIREB says there is “no doubt that a shortage of active listings is causing the drop in sales.”

Buyers continue to face frustrating hurdles caused by historically low inventories, with little relief in sight.

Active listings for single-family homes were 46% lower last month than in October 2020 and are down 18% from September. V

The condominium inventory on Vancouver Island was down 63% from a year ago and was 26% lower than in September.

However, there has been some positive news for townhouse buyers. While active listings in this category were down 39 percent year over year, inventories were up 13 percent from September.

In its most recent housing forecast, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) said the supply situation is particularly dire in markets outside of the Lower Mainland, including Vancouver Island.

According to VIREB, listing activity has been so weak that even if sales returned to long-term average levels, total listings would need to nearly double to rebalance the markets.

The chairman of the board, Ian Mackay, says the road to doubling these registrations is paved by the increase in the supply of housing.

“Unless demand drops significantly or more inventory is brought online through new construction, VIREB’s inventory situation is unlikely to improve,” Mackay said.

Mackay is excited to hear that the provincial government is giving local governments more tools and powers to simplify and speed up their development approval processes, helping to build the homes people need faster.

“Real estate is a question of supply and demand. New construction is not a quick fix, but it is the only one that can alleviate the housing shortage and hopefully moderate prices, ”Mackay said.

That would be good news for anyone still dreaming of buying a particular home, as the island-wide benchmark price for a single-family home hit $ 757,300 in October, up from 31% over one year.

In the apartment category, the benchmark price reached $ 397,200 last month, a 30% increase from October 2020. The benchmark price for a townhouse increased 34% year over year to the other.

In Campbell River, the benchmark price for a single-family home reached $ 663,000 last month, a 29% increase from the previous October. In September, it was $ 653,700.

In the Comox Valley, the benchmark year-over-year price increased 31% to $ 779,000. (The price has also increased by almost $ 8,000 from September).

Cowichan Valley reported a benchmark price of $ 756,900, a 30% increase from October 2020.

Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 28% to $ 755,500, while the Parksville-Qualicum region saw its benchmark price rise 34% to $ 887,300.

The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $ 504,000, a 36% year-over-year increase.

The benchmark price for the North Island rose 55% to $ 418,800 in September.

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