Real estate sales on Vancouver Island have been very strong and it seems the aging boomers really got going on their retirement plans this year. Our communities here are quite small and with a higher than usual sales volume, our inventory of homes being offered for sale has been all but wiped out. The strain of low inventory causes prices to go up with homes being purchased as soon as they hit the market, if priced realistically.However, many sellers do wait until the fall to sell and September does bring new listings. Some buyers choose arrive in the fall as the weather is great and many of the tourists have gone home making it a pleasant time to visit.
In the Greater Vancouver area, sales dropped by over 40% during the month of August, after the BC Government imposed the new 15% foreign-buyers’ tax at the end of July. Both foreign and local buyers are now re-evaluating options which may lead to increased sales of the more expensive properties here on Vancouver Island this Fall. With the drop in oil prices, fewer Albertans have been in a position to buy real estate this year. However, buyers from the Lower Mainland have been coming in larger numbers than usual. It is still a bit early to determine the impact of recent slower sales in the Lower Mainland on our local market.
The overall average sale price of a single family home in the local area is $465,676. This represents an increase of 15% over the first 8 months of last year. The sale price of a patio-home style of condominium is about $310,000, representing an increase of 6% over this time last year. Building lot average sale price of $184,478 represents a decrease of -11% over the first 8 months of last year. Low inventory and high demand pushes real estate sale pricing higher.
The average days to sell a single family home here during the month of August was down to 20 days with a list to sell ratio of 99%. Well-priced homes are selling within a couple of days and with multiple offers. Sales dollars for August was up by 47% over August of last year. About the same number of single family homes sold in August as in July and June of this year, so the market has held steady through the summer months. However, the number of available listings of all types is down considerably by about 31%, 41%, and 53% for single family, building lots and patio-style condos respectively, compared to August of last year. This, coupled with high demand, definitely makes it a seller's market. With fewer listings for sale, Buyers have to act fast or risk losing out.
Sometimes potential buyers want to rent for a while to check out the area and climate but a hot real estate market has made it tougher for renters to find accommodation in an already tight rental climate. Competition can be fierce for rental units with, sometimes, the only option being to take a short term vacation property and putting belongings in storage.
There has been a large increase in the number of people 'cashing out' of the extremely heated Lower Mainland market and buying here. It's time for many to get out of that crazy Lower Mainland traffic! The difference in real estate pricing between here and there is huge. Plus the quality of life here is so very good. Hiking and biking trails are everywhere and it's a golfers and gardeners paradise! Events in our local small towns wouldn't be what they are without the level of enthusiastic volunteerism that exists. We are only an hour and a half ferry ride or a 25 minute plane ride away from the big city of Vancouver for those who want to visit family and friends while perhaps taking in some of those world-class amenities. Couple that with being a 2 hour drive from Victoria and Tofino plus being within a stone's throw from the enchanting Gulf Islands for day trips, makes this a highly desirable place to enjoy life....call Tom!