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Demand fueling Powell River, Sunshine Coast real estate market

The second wave of COVID-19 hasn’t put a damper on Powell River’s real estate market.

Powell River-Sunshine Coast Real Estate Board president, Neil Frost, says the region is coming off a record September and October.

“Sales have been very strong the past few months,” he added. “November was quite strong as well – we’re just waiting for the final numbers on it to come in.

Frost said 50 percent of the buyers are coming from outside of the area with most of those purchasing single family homes.

“So they’re becoming residents of Powell River, moving into our community, becoming taxpayers in our community,” Frost said.

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“COVID certainly has presented challenges in the practice of real estate, but I would say that overall the exodus from the urban areas have definitely put a spotlight on Powell River (and) has benefited our real estate market… definitely our sellers, at any rate.”

The biggest challenge facing the local market right now is a lack of inventory.

Frost said there simply isn’t enough homes on the market to satisfy the demand. He noted that it’s driving prices higher.

Board-wide, the average price of a single-family home was $493,586 at the end of October, which is nearly 10 percent higher than the same time last year.

While the current travel restrictions on the Vancouver Coastal Health region has slowed the market, Frost says they’re still seeing competing offers, and “we’re experiencing the typical winter slowdown a little bit.”

“But we’re still seeing a lot of inquiries from out-of-time,” he added.

Frost believes the open spaces and lifestyle offered in the qathet Regional District is also a huge draw.

“After the first wave, where people were stuck at home, or stuck in a condo, or cohabiting situation, with no yard, nowhere to go in an urban environment, they look at the big open spaces here, the larger properties, the availability of recreational spaces, and they’re getting out of their condo in the city and coming here to a little house and a better living situation.”

Frost would like to see more housing and new construction come online in the new year.

“There’s still a demand and I expect that to continue into spring, summer of 2021,” he said. “Prior to the pandemic we had many people wanting to retire here. We’ve got all these people that want to come from out of province: buyers from Alberta, buyers from Ontario that haven’t been able to or have chosen not to come over the past few months. It’s not just the Lower Mainland which is where the majority of our out-of-town buyers are coming from.”

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