Real Estate Market Summary for 2017

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Qualicum Beach Parksville Nanoose Bay Fairwinds Area of Vancouver Island, BC

  • Photograph of Tom Whitfield
  • Parksville Qualicum Beach REALTOR®
  • Published: Jan 6th, 2018 at 3:18 pm

The big real estate story throughout the year concerned increases in home prices within the Greater Vancouver area and the impact of foreign buyers.  In BC, real estate seems to be the main topic of conversation second only to the weather. Issues concerning housing, densification, rentals and foreign ownership were the hot topics. Locally, low inventory and increasing prices resulted in many buyers losing out on multiple offer purchasing scenarios.  Lower Mainland sales continue to net big returns for sellers who are able either to downsize and stay on the Mainland or come to Vancouver Island and purchase real estate for far less money. Recreational properties are often purchased here by the aging boomers who want to escape the urban lifestyle. Also many boomers are in a position to help their kids with a sizeable down payment thereby allowing them to enter the real estate market.

Some changes occurred in 2017 which will affect real estate in all of BC during the coming year.  In Canada, a more stringent mortgage ‘stress test’ took effect January 1st, requiring applicants to qualify for mortgage rates 2% above what they could otherwise get from their lender. This applies to all borrowers regardless of a 20% or 5% (i.e. - CMHC insured) down payment.  It is anticipated that in 2018 interest rates will rise marginally so over time the stress test may have an increased impact on buyers’ ability to qualify.  BCREA reports that the supply of homes for sale is trending at/or near decade lows in most BC regions.

2017 Qualicum Beach, Parksville, Nanoose Bay & Area Market Summary
The Qualicum Beach Parksville Nanoose Bay Fairwinds & Area real estate market experienced the continuation of a strong seller's market in December and throughout the year. The trend we've seen all year has been a lower inventory coupled with high demand putting pressure on prices. In 2017 the median sale price of a single family home in the local area was $502,000 (not including waterfront or acreages). On a year-over-year basis, the 12 month average sale price is up by 14% over last year to $548,378. As single family home prices increase, more buyers are switching to more affordable condos thereby pushing condo sale prices up too. The median sale price of a patio-home style condominium was $385,000. On a year-over-year basis, the 12 month average price is up 20% over last year to $378,018. The median sale price for building lots was $230,000. On a year-over-year basis, the 12 month average price is up 23% over last year to $254,871. Building lots are scarce and inventory was down by 36% over 2016.

Sales in the Qualicum Beach Parksville Nanoose Bay Fairwinds & Area real estate market see a wave of Boomers retiring to the region while at the same time the supply of available listings has remained lower than usual all year. Pressure on the demand side has resulted in about 30% of listings selling in under 1 week and overall about 55% are selling in under 4 weeks. In 2017, overall listings of all categories were down by 12%. However, listings were down by 27% when comparing just the month of December to the same month in 2016. The number of sales of single family homes was down by 15% in 2017 and building lots by 36%. It is interesting to see that the number of homes sold for over $1M in the local area was up by 32% as compared to 2016.

In December, the average length of time to sell a single family home was 23 days. However, many sell within a couple of days and many with multiple offers. The list to sell ratio was 98% for single family homes.  A lack of inventory has meant properties are selling faster and for more money. Consumer demand is high and buyers are snapping up well-priced properties very quickly once they hit the market which can be frustrating for buyers. Consumers have to be ready to make an offer when that preferred property is found. So if you are in a position to buy then I suggest you make your move. There is no reason to expect real estate pricing to drop at least in the near term, as this region is so highly desirable. There have been some price reductions though (especially at this time of year) as sellers become concerned about trying to initiate a sale during the slow winter sales season.

Where did Tom’s Buyers come from in 2017?
38% came from other parts of BC, Canada & internationally; 30% from Alberta & Saskatchewan; 23% from Victoria, Vancouver & Lower Mainland; 9% from the local area. About 60% of buyers and sellers contacted Tom initially through the website www.tomwhitfield.ca which attracted about 24,000 visits in 2017 from about 80 countries. Over 85% of buyers start with a property search on the internet. Google is still by far the #1 search engine most often used. Tom’s website has been strategically designed and continuously updated to capture key word phrases typically used by buyers when searching for properties on the internet. The web is by far the most effective marketing tool.

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 city amenities. Couple that with being a 2 hour drive from Victoria or Tofino and being located within a 'stone's throw' from the enchanting Gulf Islands and Discovery Islands for day trips, makes this a highly desirable place to retire to and enjoy life. That's the really big win. Call Tom!

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