Housing Market Shifts to Multi-Family Properties in September
by Dave Koszegi
on Monday, October 7th, 2019 at 8:29am.
Sales of single-family homes in September were virtually flat year over year but dipped by 16 per cent from August. However, apartment and townhouse sales rose by 15 per cent and 11 per cent year over year, respectively. Last month, 345 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 413 the previous month and 347 in September 2018.
In the apartment category, 85 units sold last month, while 51 townhouses changed hands in September. In the VIREB area, inventory of single-family homes in September rose by 14 per cent from one year ago (1,283 to 1,466). Active listings of apartments increased by 43 per cent (293 to 419) year over year while townhouse inventory dropped by 18 per cent (171 to 140). The September statistics indicate that some buyers are turning to multi-family properties, but it is too early to say whether this is an anomaly or the beginning of a trend.
As for the reasons behind this shift away from single- family homes, it could be a combination of factors, including affordability, Guideline B-20, and the speculation tax in Nanaimo. Prices in the VIREB area are still rising year over year, but the magnitude is decreasing. The benchmark price of a single-family home board-wide was $523,100 in September, a four per cent increase from one year ago and up two per cent from August. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.)
In the apartment category, the year-over-year benchmark price rose by two per cent, climbing to $298,900 but slightly lower than in August. The benchmark price of a townhouse rose by four per cent board-wide, hitting $411,100 last month, which was two per cent lower than August’s benchmark of $417,300. Regionally, 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. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $482,100, an increase of three per cent from September 2018. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose by two per cent to $569,200 in September while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by three per cent to $591,700. The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $327,400 in September, an eight per cent increase from one year ago.
Trend-wise, VIREB’s housing market has transitioned from one favouring sellers to one that is balanced, and, in some areas, conditions are better for buyers. Kaye Broens, 2019 President, reports that sellers now recognize the market has changed and are pricing their homes accordingly. Although real estate is cyclical, the one factor that remains constant is that well-priced homes sell faster. “Whether you’re a buyer or seller, the advice of a REALTOR® is beneficial in any housing market,” says Broens. “We have access to tools and market analytics that empower us to dig deeply into sales data and comparatives. That knowledge allows us to determine an optimal selling price for your home and find a house that fits your needs and budget.”