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Prices, sales down for Vancouver Island real estate

Mid-Island area not immune to global housing price slump

House prices in Parksville and Qualicum Beach and  area were down eight per cent in August, reports the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB).

The average selling price for homes in this area was at $363,873 last month — still above the average prices for homes in VIREB’s coverage area: Nanaimo ($341,434), Comox Valley ($329,008), Cowichan Valley ($351,061), Campbell River ($301,093) and Port Alberni ($181,793).

The biggest drop in prices in August came in Port Alberni (31 per cent) and the Parksville zone. Increases were seen in Campbell River (eight per cent) and the Cowichan Valley (four per cent).

Housing sales activity, too, declined across Vancouver Island — 21 per cent last month, compared to the same time last year. Single family homes sold in August 2011 numbered 358, compared with 283 last month.

“Both in Victoria and across Vancouver Island sales activity has been quite flat for the past few months, and it’s likely to continue like that for the foreseeable future. No big changes in this trend are anticipated through to the end of the year,” explained Cameron Muir, Chief Economist with the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). “However the interest rates continue to remain low and are anticipated to stay that while for a while. In addition provincewide job stats have started to show growth, with part time jobs rolling into full time jobs. The end result of this trend for the long term is increased stability in the provincial economy which ultimately leads to increased sales in the housing market. The best prediction would be stability in the immediate and a gradual increase in sales and prices in the long term.”

As of the end of August 2012 there were 3,156 single family homes available on the Multiple Listing Service within VIREB’s coverage area, down slightly from the 3,162 homes in the system at the end of August 2011. In August there were 768 homes on the MLS, up four per cent from the 740 homes listed during August 2011.

“It’s a case of business as usual when it comes to selling real estate,” explained VIREB President Guy Bezeau. “There are certainly some spikes, such as last month’s sales figures, but for the most part we just keep chugging along.