Low inventory of homes for sale across Island drives up prices

High demand for real estate on Vancouver Island has resulted in record-low levels of available homes, according to year-end numbers from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board.

The board, which oversees the real estate market north of Greater Victoria, noted the region between Mill Bay and the North Island had just 421 active listings of single-family homes as of the end of December, the lowest number ever recorded at the end of the year.

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“Consumer demand is high, and buyers are snapping up well-priced properties quickly once they hit the market,” said board president Kevin Reid. “Multiple offers are commonplace.”

Demand has been strong all year on the Island, according to year-end figures released this week.

Over the past 12 months 4,715 properties changed hands, up from 4,069 in 2019. And with low inventory, the average selling price jumped to $587,085 in 2020 from $532,523 in 2019.

The benchmark price — considered a more accurate reflection because it represents typical properties in each market — rose in all regions of the Island in 2020. Overall, the benchmark price of a single-family home hit $546,900 in December, a five per cent increase from the same time in 2019.

The benchmark price of a condominium reached $312,000, an increase of four per cent, while the benchmark price of a townhouse rose by 10 per cent year over year, climbing to $450,100.

In Campbell River, the benchmark price of a single-family home hit $473,000 in December, an increase of 12 per cent over last year. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $550,800, up by four per cent from one year ago. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $509,600, an increase of five per cent from December 2019.

Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose by one per cent, hitting $569,400, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by nine per cent to $639,100.

The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $328,000, a two per cent year-over-year increase. For the north Island, the benchmark price rose to $236,000, a 17 per cent increase over last year.

Reid said while demand remains strong, properties will still languish on the market if they are not priced right.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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