In the single family house sector, both the Comox and Campbell River markets continue to point to reduced sales volumes, combined with some upward pressure on price. Both markets have more active listings than at this time last year; Comox shows a 40% increase to 258, and Campbell River shows a 21% increase to 132. This is good news, but more listings are needed to meet the pent up demand.
Similar trends apply in the Condo sector – apartments, patio homes and townhouses. Inventory level s are low in Comox, and almost non-existent in Campbell River.
Spring can often trigger real estate market activity, weather we like it or not.
The statistics for the Comox Valley and the Campbell River markets seem to tell slightly different stories this month. March single family sales in Comox were down 41% in dollar volume, compared to last year. The Sell / List Ratio is down last month from 66% to 39%. There are more listings this March; up 31.5% to 225 from 171 last March. It is reported that there is pent up demand. So, maybe, just maybe, pricing is the issue.
The Campbell River March stats reflect a healthy Sell / List Ratio of 74%, and a 10% increase in the dollar volume of sales. The average price was up 4% to $470,108, compared to the month of March last year.
Overall, both markets continue to offer good liquidity; 48 days (and rising) in the Comox Valley, 32 days (and falling) in Campbell River.
For the Comox Valley and Campbell River markets, the trends this month are remarkably similar. In the Single Family sector, the sales volumes are down, but average prices are up. In the Apartment Condo sector, despite falling sales volumes, averages prices are also up. In the Comox Valley the average price is up 21% to $286,463 on 254 sales in the past 12 months. In Campbell River the average price is up 14% to $252,123 on 110 sales. In the Townhouse sector, the average price in the Comox Valley is up 15% to $355,229 on 184 sales. In Campbell River the average price is up 18% to $238,465 based on 40 sales. These statistics seem to point to a glorious townhouse development opportunity in Campbell River with virtually no inventory and scope for higher prices.
Last Thursday’s edition of the CV Record runs with a headline on page A 16 informing the readers that the Comox Valley is one of the most unaffordable housing markets in BC. This is based on the 15th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Study. It may be argued that the headline is just a tad misleading, as the Comox Valley is not just expensive compared to other BC municipalities, but ranks as the 290th least affordable market out of 309 markets in the world! The ranking for Nanaimo is even worse at 291. Vancouver at 308 is reckoned to be the second most unaffordable market in the world, just behind Hong Kong.
This is nothing to be proud of, but what I find so frustrating is the response from local politicians to call for more and more money from the federal and provincial governments. I for one am inclined to agree with the head of VICA -Vancouver Island Construction Association, that we might actually make more progress on this issue if politicians got out of the way and allowed the private sector to have a go. At a recent workshop hosted by Economic Development, the topic of affordability was raised again. I sat next to a local politician, who commented to the effect that it is all relative, thankful that he doesn’t have to rent an apartment in San Francisco – I say What?! This type of comment suggests to me no real desire to address the issue, but rather just kick the can down the road. With this data from Demographia, and an average lot price of $215,743, it points to a very real failure in our local planning process.
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