Market Minute

Is The Sap Rising?

April 1st, 2019

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.

Similar Trends Prevail

March 1st, 2019

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.

Talk, talk, talk…

February 4th, 2019


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.

The Numbers Are In…

January 3rd, 2019

For Comox Valley and Campbell River, the trends for the Zone Totals for 2018 (sales across all market sectors) are remarkably similar. For the Comox Valley, the total sales of $783 Million was down 2% from last year, but reflecting a 10% increase in the average price. The Campbell River market was off 6% to $346 Million, with a 17% increase in the average price. For the month of December alone, sales in the Comox Valley were off 38% to $31 Million, while sales in Campbell River were off 31% to $13 Million.

In the Comox Valley there were 27 price reductions in December. In Campbell River there were 8.

It is interesting to note that average lot prices are very similar; $246,584 in the Comox Valley and $235,228 in Campbell River, albeit on relatively small sample sizes of approximately 3 sales per month through the MLS. There is still a large discrepancy in the average Single Family house price; $539,897 in the Comox Valley and $453,935 in Campbell River. In the late 1990’s Single Family average prices were virtually identical. It begs the question… ‘is there scope for additional increase in the Campbell River Single Family house price?’

This months’ thought provoking quotation below comes from Elon Musk and addresses Artificial Intelligence, something which is not on the radar screen for most people. For an up to the minute analysis, we include a hyperlink to a talk by Oxford University Professor – Dr. John Lennox. Dr. Lennox is a triple PhD holder, including mathematics and philosophy of science. This talk is 53 minutes long, but the first 10 minutes on robots and narrow artificial intelligence is worth everyone’s time.

Dr.John Lennox – Should We Fear Artificial Intelligence?

Sales Volumes… Off, Off, Off

December 3rd, 2018

In the month of November, for both the Comox Valley and Campbell River single family markets, the dollar volumes of sales were down 9% and 37% respectively.  For the year, the sales volume for the Comox Valley was virtually static compared to last year. In Campbell River, the reduced sales volume for November pushed the yearly total down 9% to $227 million. Compared to last year, lot sales are down 32% in the Comox Valley, and 31% in Campbell River. These statistics on lot sales may not provide an accurate reflection of the market, as private transactions are not included in the MLS statistics.  Many other market sectors show lower sales volumes; this is especially true in the acreage market sectors in the Comox Valley where improved acreage sales are off 39%, and unimproved acreage (raw land) sales are off 18%.

The Condominium market in the Comox Valley seems to be bucking this trend. Condos still provide a less expensive point of entry to the market. The 58% increase in the volume of townhouse sales is the result of good supply.  In Campbell River, sales volumes for patio homes and townhouses were down over the year, but inventory is virtually non-existent.

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