Vancouver Isl. steadier market than Mainland

The average price of $332,438 for a house on the island was down 3% in November compared to a year earlier, according to the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB).

Meanwhile, Re/Max recently estimated the average price gain of a Vancouver home in 2011 was up 16%, more than double the gains of the next highest Canadian city.

But while industry experts have reported that Vancouver’s market is flush with Chinese luxury buyers, Vancouver Island has had significantly subdued interest this year.

Vancouver Island home sales were also down 3% in November from a year ago, or down to 264. But VIREB President Elect Buy Bezeau said the results are not concerning.

“I think what we’re really seeing is what could only be called a normal market,” he said. “We’re not seeing any radical increases, and with historically low mortgage rates there has never been a better time to get into home ownership.”

While sales are prices are down, sellers are still increasingly entering the Vancouver Island market. MLS stats show there were 5% more listings in November, some 2,417 total single family homes, there than at the same point in 2010.

VIREB President Jim Stewart said the leveling of prices lately does not mean all sellers are facing unusually long times on market before a sale, however.

“Good properties, properly priced properties, are moving,” he said.

A more concerning drop has occurred in housing starts. In Nanaimo, housing starts were down 13% from a year ago, based on November numbers from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. But the overall trend a wide rift between two housing types. Single family home construction was down 43%, whereas multiple housing units were up 20%.

Overall, housing starts are down 27% for the entire island.

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