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Homebuyers’ focus shifts to townhouses, apartments

Attached homes are all the rage among Vancouver Island homebuyers these days while in Powell River, house prices continue to edge lower.

Island-wide, apartment and townhouse sales rose by 15 per cent and 11 per cent respectively, year over year.

On the other side of the ledger, sales of single-family homes were flat compared to last September but dipped 16 per cent from August. 

In the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board area, inventory of single-family homes in September rose 14 per cent from one year ago. 

Active listings of apartments increased by 43 per cent year over year while townhouse inventory dropped by 18 per cent. 

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Incoming board president Kevin Reid said a “huge amount” of townhouses, half duplexes and condos changed hands in September.

“Numbers are quite up,” he said.

He attributed the jump to affordability.

“We’re seeing a little bit of push back on single-family home prices, yet a brand-new townhouse in most of the island communities sells for around $400,000,” he added. “That’s a three bed(room), two bathroom, brand-new beautiful unit.”

Conversely, the average house price ranges from about $510,000 in Campbell River to over $600,000 in the Qualicum Beach area.

Overall, Reid said the market was mixed in September.

“The first half of September was incredibly active, lots of single-family homes were being sold and in the second half of September the single-family home sales kind of slowed up considerably.”

He said real estate is cyclical and statistically sales of single-family homes slow in the second half of the year, especially late in Q3 and the fourth quarter.

“What I would think happening is we’re going to see slower activity in single-family homes but I’m expecting next year we’re going to be right on track in terms of home sales,” he said. “We’re seeing sellers having to be far more accurate with their pricing.”

Regionally, it was a mixed bag in the Central Island.

Sales of single family homes in Campbell River dropped 19 percent last month compared to the previous September, but they edged up four percent in the Comox Valley.

Meanwhile, house prices continue to rise in both the valley and Campbell River.

The benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area last month was $451,400, an increase of 11 per cent over September 2018. 

In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price reached $523,900, up by five per cent from one year ago. 

On the Sunshine Coast, including Powell River, 46 houses, five townhouses, and seven apartments changed hands last year.

The median selling price for a single family home last month was $640,000, down $5,000 in August and $20,000 from September 2018.

Meanwhile, the mainland market is on an upward trajectory.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region jumped 46.3 per cent last month compared to September 2018.

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