VIREB says real estate market is normalizing

It may have been slow, but real estate market conditions on Vancouver Island may be slowly returning to normal levels.

It may have been slow, but real estate market conditions on Vancouver Island may be slowly returning to normal levels.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sales summary data released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) for February 2011, shows a three per cent decline in unit sales compared to February 2010 but a 36 per cent increase over last month.

Likewise, the average price of a single family home sold in February 2011 through the VIREB MLS system was $338,882, down one per cent from the $342,047 posted in February 2010, but up 5.4 per cent from January’s average of $321,489.

“We are seeing the market returning to normal conditions with sales and listings trending toward balanced conditions. Homes that are properly priced are seeing quite a bit of action and selling in a reasonable length of time,” said Jim Stewart, president of VIREB.

“Relying on the advice of a realtor is very important to be properly informed on how the market conditions might affect an individual situation,” he added.

There were 806 single family homes listed in February, bringing the active single family homes available through the VIREB MLS system to 2,388, up almost 12 per cent from this time last year.

For the 12-month period from the end of February 2010 to February 2011, average sale prices across the Comox Valley slipped one per cent (to $336,411), compared to a drop in Campbell River of nine per cent (to $257,727).  Nanaimo was down two per cent (to $363,317), Parksville/Qualicum was up three per cent (to $401,132), Port Alberni jumped 13 per cent (to $218,746) and the Cowichan Valley was down six per cent (to $337,291).

“Although the consumer is getting used to these historically low interest rates, we are being told it is not a matter of if we will see them begin to rise but when. With the amount of inventory available on the market now is a great time to invest on Vancouver Island,” noted Guy Bezeau, VIREB’s president-elect.

“We are seeing a vast improvement in the market as we move out of the holiday season,” added Cliff Moberg, VIREB’s past president.

“We have to remember however when looking at the sales numbers on a monthly basis, that a small market such as Port Alberni which only had 12 reported sales in February, one higher priced sale can skew the numbers considerably as we are seeing this month with a 13 per cent increase in the average price.”

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