by Dave Koszegi
on Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 at 12:57pm.
The COVID-19 health crisis will undoubtedly dampen the provincial housing market, but the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that the virus had little impact on March sales.
In Port Alberni, the benchmark price of a single-family home in March came in at $328,300 which increased by 2.2% from February and 12% compared to March of last year. This is a significant increase especially when you compare it to other regions on Vancouver Island which have an average growth of only 3.6% and the closest other community in the region is Campbell River at 4.7%.
In the apartment category, the year-over-year benchmark price rose by 9.6%, hitting $381,500 with a 2.5% increase form the month prior. The benchmark price of a townhouse rose just over 2 per cent year over year, climbing to $198,000, and was virtually the same as in February.
In its most recent Market Intelligence Report, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) states that no one knows how the unfolding COVID-19 outbreak will impact the economy in the longterm. However, B.C. is facing a sudden stop in economic activity with little sense of when things may return to normal.
Based on BCREA’s scenario analysis, B.C. home sales and prices will likely face declines in the spring and early summer but should recover along with the broader economy in the second half of the year, contingent on the outbreak resolving. Although it is certainly not business as usual, real estate has been declared an essential service by the provincial government as long as licensees comply with health and safety guidelines, which VIREB members are doing.
“The reality is that there are always clients who, for various reasons, must buy or sell now, and REALTORS® are uniquely poised to help those individuals do so safely,” says 2019 president Kevin Reid. “The real estate industry’s embrace of technology, such as virtual tours and electronic document signing, makes it possible to conduct a large part of the real estate transaction without face-to-face interaction.”