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Housing market picking up, market not expected to normalize for 3 years: VIREB

It appears the housing marking is starting to pick up the pace as we approach spring, but inventory continues to be low.

That’s from the latest Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) report for February. According to the report, inventory is gaining, but is still below ideal for a balanced market.

The board says 937 single-family homes were up for sale last month, up from 345 one year ago and 861 in January.

Despite the increase, VIREB chair Kelly O’Dywer says they are not expecting a normalized market for another few years.

“Although listings have increased from the depleted level seen at the beginning of 2022, they’re still low compared to historical levels,” said O’Dywer. “As a result, we’re not expecting supply to normalize until sometime in 2026, and weak inventory will put more pressure on prices when demand increases.”

According to the BC Real Estate Association, a slowing economy and elevated mortgage rates are expected to keep housing activity lower than normal for most of the year. However, they expect a strong recovery when mortgage rates fall and record-high immigration comes to the country in 2024.

In February, 220 single-family homes sold in the Vancouver Island area, representing a 37 per cent decrease from a year ago (350 sold) and a 33 per cent increase from January (165 sold).

This pattern is expected as we approach spring, but O’Dywer adds prices are still sensitive.

“We’re still seeing some multiple offers on well-priced properties, but the market is more price-sensitive than we’ve seen in some time,” said O’Dywer. “Buyers are savvy and unwilling to stretch their budget by more than they can comfortably afford.”

The area’s benchmark price for a single-family home saw a small dip from January at $732,500.

The Cowichan Valley saw its benchmark price drop seven per cent year-over-year for $738,200. Nanaimo’s benchmark price dropped 11 per cent since 2022 for $750,500 and the Parksville-Qualicum area saw an eight per cent decrease for $848,100.

A three per cent drop was recorded in the Comox Valley for a price of $738,200 and Campbell River is seeing a six per cent drop for $652,600 for a single-family home.

North Vancouver Island saw a three per cent decrease for a benchmark price of $414,700, and the largest decrease was recorded in Port Alberni at 12 per cent and a price of $516,500.

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