Home prices continue to climb on most of Vancouver Island, though overall number of homes sold dipped in the last quarter. — NEWS file photo

Home sales down, but prices still rising in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Benchmark price of single-family home up 20 per cent

Despite a decline in sales in March, the benchmark price for a single-family home in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area still went up last month.

In March the benchmark price increased by 20 per cent to $554,400 from $540,400 in February, and from $524,900 just three months ago. A year ago, the benchmark price was $463,500.

However, Parksville Qualicum Beach experienced a decline in sales, matching the overall trend in the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board area last month. Sales of single-family homes dropped 33 per cent last month to 53, compared to 79 sold at the same time in 2017.

VIREB reported sales overall dipped in March 2018 and attributed it to a combination of government policy changes, stricter mortgage qualification rules, and consumer uncertainty.

The number of apartments changing hands in March decreased by 23 per cent, while year-over-year townhouse sales remained static. There were 979 single-family homes for sale in March compared to 812 in February and 1,023 one year ago. The supply of apartments decreased in March, down 12 per cent from one year ago, but townhouse inventory rose by 30 per cent.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association also reports that housing sales in most B.C. jurisdictions are down compared to last year. Guideline B-20 and uncertainty surrounding new provincial taxes appear to be taking their toll on sales.

Broadening the scope of the Foreign Buyer Tax to include parts of the Regional District of Nanaimo should not have a significant impact on the VIREB housing market. Only 4.4 per cent of RDN residential real estate transactions in 2017 involved foreign buyers.

More troubling is the new speculation tax imposed on parts of the RDN, which targets homeowners who do not pay income tax in B.C.

While the provincial government did introduce exemptions for Parksville, Qualicum Beach, and the Gulf Islands, the speculation tax will still be applied in Nanaimo and Lantzville. Some Realtors have reported that out-of-province buyers are feeling unwelcome and postponing their home purchases for now. Whether this outcome is short-lived or a longer-term trend is uncertain.

Don McClintock, 2018 VIREB president, believes the speculation tax is a well-meaning attempt to make housing more affordable. However, while uncertainty about the tax is contributing to weaker sales this year, prices continue to rise due to a persistent lack of inventory.

“Instead of increasing supply, the B.C. government is concentrating on dampening demand,” said McClintock. “We feel that a more effective solution is to increase supply, which includes streamlining the approval process for developers.”

On a local level, it is still a sellers’ market in the VIREB area. Properties in the $300,000 to $500,000 range are “flying off the shelf,” and multiple offers are still the norm on reasonably priced homes.

“For sellers, properly pricing your home is still an important factor in our area,” said McClintock. “Buyers are savvy, and overpriced homes take longer to sell.”

Connecting with a local realtor is especially crucial in a competitive housing market, added McClintock.

In March 2018, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area reached $490,100, up 19 per cent from one year ago. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.) The benchmark price of an apartment last month rose to $297,600, up 25 per cent board-wide from the previous year, while the benchmark price of a townhouse hit $385,600, a 24 per cent increase from March 2017.

Last month, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area climbed to $401,500, an increase of 24 per cent over March 2017. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $475,600, up 17 per cent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $426,900, an increase of 17 per cent compared to March 2017. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 17 per cent to $528,900 while Port Alberni reached $276,600, up 27 per cent from one year ago.

— NEWS Staff/

VIREB report

Just Posted

Bowser residents protest marine sewage outfall plan

Veenhof and staff endures harsh criticisms at public information meeting

Qualicum Beach society goes to bat for insect eaters

Two bat houses built to monitor population in Heritage Forest

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

SAR scaling back in Kilmer search, but friends will keep looking

Search for 41-year-old Cobble Hill dad hits six-day mark

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Still no sign of missing father in Cowichan Valley

Search group for Ben Kilmer now stands 40 SAR volunteers and another 100 friends and concerned community members

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

Most Read