Market Minute

A Tale of Two Cities…

June 1st, 2017

In its day, Dickens’ classic was a best seller. There may still be some lessons to learn from his genius. I will leave his European comparisons for another time, but today I would like to consider the high cost of Regulation.  In 2018, the Comox Valley will celebrate ten years since the adoption of the Regional Growth Strategy. Thus far, Campbell River has avoided this additional layer of regulation.

We have highlighted the issue of low inventory levels, and have documented the strong upward pressure on price.  Again, this month, the upward pressure continues. At a recent council meeting of the Town of Comox, an 18 lot subdivision was approved. A reliable source told me that this is the first subdivision to be approved in three years.

The average lot price in the Comox Valley is $214,801, compared to the level of  $141,358 for Campbell River. The average house price in the Comox Valley is $443,930. In Campbell River, the average price is $365,526. These differences beg three questions……What is the cost of Regulation? Is the tail wagging the dog? For all the talk of ‘affordability’, is an average lot price of over $200,000 really necessary?

Well Guess What…

May 1st, 2017

Prices are up again.


The law of supply and demand is perhaps the simplest economic concept to understand.

The market continues at a torrid pace, but across most sectors, inventories are down; approximately 50% from levels at this time last year.  Prices have only one way to go…..up, up and up!


The average single family lot price in the Comox Valley pushed past the $200,000 mark to $201,006 on 66 sales in the past 12 months.  This makes Campbell River look like a bargain at $139,605.

So, you think the house market is Hot? Have you tried….

April 1st, 2017


Both communities continue to show strong upward pressure in terms of sales volumes and price.  For March alone, the average price on 84 sales was up 18% to $465,892. Campbell River was very similar with a 19% increase to $399,456.

The vacancy rate in the rental market is at a record low level. This is pushing rents up and is forcing more buyers into the market. In some cases, it is cheaper to own than it is to rent.

The price of residential investment properties is determined by two factors; net income, and a multiplier, called the Capitalization Rate or ‘Cap Rate’. Understanding the upward pressure on rents, which most often reflects higher net incomes, is straight forward. The issue of Capitalization rates is somewhat counter intuitive; the lower the Cap Rate, the higher the value or price of the investment. The low interest rate environment has been pushing Cap Rates down for some time. We believe that this trend of low, and lower interest rates will continue.

Investors stand to benefit from rising rents and lower Cap Rates. Another bonus is that developers may be coaxed back onto the scene.


A word  from the land of rice and curry……

Some readers may be aware of my involvement with India which started as a supporter of a small children’s home about ten years ago. Strong friendships have developed over the past decade. Together with my family our desire to help the poor in India has re-focused to healthcare. To this end, we traveled to India in February to launch Mummy’s Village, Spreading Health in India. We are very excited about this model which was developed by some English friends with great success in Cameroon. To learn more or to follow our progress check out

Last Place To Warm Up And…

March 15th, 2017

the first place to catch a cold.

This old adage is sometimes used to describe the rural acreage market. The volume of sales for improved Comox Valley acreages is up 119%, with a 36% increase in the average price to $680,087. In simple terms, this means that the average price for a house on an acreage is up over $180,000 from last year at this time. The average price for raw land is up 28% to $303,308. The volume of sales is up 71%.

In Campbell River, there are fewer acreage sales but a similar trend exists. The volume of sales for improved properties is up 73%, with the average price up 12% to $543,635.

If these indicators are a barometer, then the market appears set for continued upward sales and price pressure in 2017 across all sectors.

An Active Market with Limited Supply

February 2nd, 2017

The total sales of single family homes in the Comox Valley for the month of January 2017 were $19,037,340. This is a 17 percent increase in sales over the month of January 2016. The average price of a single family dwelling in the Comox Valley for January 2017 was $442,729. By comparison, the average price for the month of January 2016 was $368,923. As a result of the price increases, homes purchased this January cost 20 percent more than they did in January 2016.

Total sales of single family dwellings in Campbell River for the month of January 2017 were $11,669,552. This is a 30 percent increase for the month of January 2016. The average price of a single family dwelling in Campbell River was $353,623 in January 2017. By comparison, the average price in January 2016 was $310,146. Therefore, homes purchased this January cost 14 percenter more than they did in January 2016.

Inventory levels are much lower in both markets, with Comox having 238 active listings last January compared to 135 active listings at this time. Campbell River had 173 active listings last January compared to 98 active listings at this time.

With such an active and very limited inventory we can expect continued upward pressure on home prices in both the Comox Valley and Campbell River.

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