VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C. – While sales of single family homes in April dropped 13 percent year over year island-wide, that doesn’t tell the whole story.
That’s because across Vancouver Island, sales actually rose by 33 percent from March.
This is according to newly released statistics from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board.
And while the market is heating up, the board is still pointing a finger at the stress test (Guideline B-20) which it says in a release “continues to wreak havoc in the Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and Lower Mainland housing markets, which is spilling over, albeit more slowly, onto Vancouver Island.”
“While the B.C. economy continues to be highly supportive of housing demand, the negative shock to affordability and purchasing power created by the stress test is making it extremely difficult for some buyers, particularly millennials, to enter the housing market,” the release said.
“Prospective buyers who can afford monthly mortgage payments are unable to qualify because Guideline B-20 has eroded their purchasing power by as much as 20 per cent.”
House sales jump in the Comox Valley
Meanwhile, sales of single family residential units have exploded in the Comox Valley, from 37 in March to 77 in April.
Further north in Campbell River, house sales nudged up slightly, from 40 in March to 44 in April.
It was a similar story further south in Cowichan Valley, where sales went from 53 in March to 61 in April.
The benchmark price of single family homes is also going up across the board.
In Campbell River, they jumped from $470,108 in March to $486,735 in April. That marks a 15 percent increase.
In the Comox Valley, homes went for, on average, $612,997 last month, compared to $576,522 in March, which was up nine percent month over month.
Houses in the Cowichan Valley also rose in price, from $522,122 (average) in March to $540,599 in April.
Sales ‘healthy’ in Powell River
On the Sunshine Coast and in particular, Powell River, sales are relatively brisk, according to Powell River Sunshine Coast Real Estate Board president Neil Frost.
“The Powell River real estate market is quite healthy right now,” he said. “Homes are selling quickly and prices are strong.”
According to Frost, there were 34 residential sales in Powell River last month, 25 of which were single family residential homes, compared to 29 houses sold in 2018.
“If we look at April 2019 compared to March 2019, we were up in April from the month before,” Frost said. “In March we had 19 residential sales, 15 of which were single family homes. And once again in April, I’d say the spring market is here.”
Frost said the stress test is decreasing the buying power of first-time homebuyers, but not at the same level as Metro Vancouver.
“The stress test does continue to be a factor in home sales and slowing down the Canadian market. Powell River hasn’t seen a significant decrease in sales and that’s probably due to our large percentage of buyers still coming from out of town. They haven’t stopped coming. More and more people are discovering Powell River. More and more people are finding it to be an affordable place to live, and also the quality of life is quite appealing.”