While home sales in Powell River and the Sunshine Coast dropped in March, the price of home ownership continues to climb.
Numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association show the average home price was $660,064 at the end of March – 37 per cent higher than last year.
The region had 36 units sold in March, which was down 20 per cent from March 2021.
Local Real Estate Board President Neil Frost told Vista Radio housing inventory continues to be a challenge but not as bad as the previous couple of years. While still below the long term average, there was three months of inventory at the end of March, compared to 1.1 last year, according to CREA.
Frost believes some of the sales slump could be people just giving up on the house hunt.
“Some of the buyers have fatigue in that price range, that $600,000 price range. They’re tired of competing or losing out to someone who’s got cash or who’s coming from out of town, usually Vancouver or Squamish or the Lower Sunshine Coast. There’s that and a little bit of uncertainly in the markets in general,” Frost said.
The uncertainly includes possible government intervention in the future with a so-called “cooling off” period, plus inflation, interest rates and the Russia-Ukraine war.
There are also people with existing homes who are “trapped a little bit” because they can’t up size in a market where sales conditional on the sale of an existing home will likely be outbid or not accepted.
Frost says real estate agents are still selling properties with “benchmark setting prices” in the area.
As for whether prices will correct, Frost believes the increases we’re seeing will largely hold.
“We have no indication yet that prices are going to slow down or correct. A lot of purchasers are still true cash, not people who say they are paying cash and then turning around and getting a mortgage.”
He says that’s evident even in seven-figure properties.
“We used to see one or two sales over a million (dollars) per year. Now we’re seeing one or two minimum per month. So it used to be only a very special or waterfront acreage or a large development property and now it’s every waterfront, it’s every big house,” he said.