Island real estate hits inventory low

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board reported its ­lowest inventory on record during ­February as buyer demand ­continued to outstrip supply.

The board covers the entire Island north of the Malahat.

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Active listings of single-family properties dropped to 394 in February, down 6% from ­January. There were 169 condominiums for sale last month, versus 212 in January, a drop of 20%.

Last month, 417 single-family properties sold on the Island board’s Multiple Listing Service, a 56% jump from February a year ago. In the condo category, sales rose to 130 from 56 in the same time period.

“Low inventory continues to dampen sales and frustrate buyers. The demand is there, but there are not enough listings to satisfy it,” the board said in a statement.

“The federal and provincial governments tend to focus on demand-side policies instead of addressing the supply issue,” said board president Ian Mackay. “Taxes and tighter mortgage restrictions are stop-gap measures that don’t resolve the underlying problem.”

The British Columbia Real Estate Association doesn’t see the inventory situation ­improving until there’s more supply. The association and real estate boards are advocating with policymakers at the provincial and regional levels to encourage streamlining the development process so that municipalities can expand ­supply faster.

“The length of time it takes to get a development off the ground is a serious problem on Vancouver Island, which is becoming an increasingly popular destination for buyers of all ages,” Mackay said.

Prices have risen throughout the board’s area as the benchmark for a single-family home hit $609,100, 15% higher than a year ago. The benchmark price of a condo reached $325,000, an increase of 9%.

• Campbell River benchmark price of a single-family home: $547,700, up 18%.

• Comox Valley $631,400, up 15%.

• Duncan $572,900, up 17%.

• Nanaimo$617,700, up 12%

• Parksville-Qualicum $695,600, up 13%

• Port Alberni reached $378,200, up 16%

•North Island $291,900, up 12%

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