Sales down, prices up as 2012 ends

Multiple Listing Service data for December released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board shows housing sales activity across Vancouver Island dropped 17 per cent compared to last year, while average sale prices climbed four per cent. The average price of a single family home was $326,541, up from the December, 2011 average price of $315,239. The number of reported unit sales was down last month compared to a year ago. In December, 2011 there were 182 single family homes sold, compared to 151 sales last December.

During 2012, 3,585 single family homes were sold across the VIREB coverage area – down about six per cent from 2011 when 3,807 homes were sold. The Nanaimo region reported the largest number of sales last year.

The average sale price of a home sold during 2012 in the VIREB area was $332,347. The previous year it was $341,537.

Prices in the Port Alberni / West Coast region recorded the largest drop (eight per cent) for a median price of $197,000.

“Overall market activity is reflecting tighter credit conditions as well as some ‘fence sitting’ by potential buyers,” said Cameron Muir of the BC Real Estate Association. “With relatively stable prices expected in 2013, some purchases that were delayed last year are expected to translate into tangible transactions this year.”

At the end of December there were 2,010 single family homes available, almost identical from the 2,016 homes in the system at the end of December, 2011.

“I think that compared to other regions of the province Vancouver Island has been weathering the storm pretty well,” explained VIREB President Guy Bezeau. “There is some pretty consistent pricing occurring with only a three per cent annual average reduction when comparing 2012 to 2011. Even comparing unit sales from one year to the next there is only a six per cent decrease year to year which is a relatively minor fluctuation. Moving forward into the New Year I expect to see a little more movement in terms of sales activity.”

Comparing December 2012 to December 2011, the average sale prices across VIREB's six zones saw: Campbell River dip one per cent to $267,960, the Comox Valley edged downward an identical one per cent to $360,030, Nanaimo’s average sales price increased five per cent to $350,458 from the December 2011 average price of $332,400, Parksville/Qualicum prices were up eight per cent to $370,924, Port Alberni/West Coast climbed 14 per cent to $201,987 while the Cowichan Valley was virtually unchanged at $363,893.

In terms of unit sales year to year there continued to be large differences between the individual zones last month. The Comox Valley region’s unit sales increased 11 per cent over the year.

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