Housing inventory up, sales down last month: Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

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The local housing market looked reminiscent of a summer market in pre-COVID times with higher inventory and fewer sales.

The observation is from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB), which says the quieter August gave consumers and realtors time to rest after the fast pace set by the market since 2020.

They say active listings of single-family detached homes (not including acreage or waterfront) jumped 153 per cent last month from last year for a total of 1,368.

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The story was much the same for condo apartments which hit 332, up from 164, and there were 171 more townhouses for sale compared to a year ago.

VIREB chair Erica Kavanaugh says inventory has slowly increased to bring the market to a more familiar environment.

“After months of historically low listings, January posted a small inventory bump, and active listings have risen steadily since then accompanied by slightly lower demand,” said Kavanaugh. “What we’re seeing now is more about conditions returning to what they were before the pandemic.

“We’ll have to see how the rest of the year shapes up to determine whether we’re looking at a more significant trend.”

The additional housing inventory is good news for buyers, according to VIREB. On the other hand, they say sellers might have to adjust their expectations.

Despite this, Kavanaugh says underlying supply issues are skill keeping stock lower than needed and prices higher. She suggests different housing options to help the supply.

“It just seems like we’re looking at a lot of condominiums that are being built and we have a little bit of a missing link,” said Kavanaugh. “In the ‘90s, in areas across the Island, they used to build a little more of a diverse space like a two-level duplex. We don’t really see those anymore.”

The board says a benchmark price for a single-family home reached $842,800, up 18 per cent from a year ago. Apartments hit $444,800 and townhouses were at $615,400.

Demand dropped over the month, with 307 single-family homes sold for a 33 per cent decrease from last year. The same went for condos and townhomes, with sales dropping 33 per cent and 43 per cent respectively.

The real estate board says they “crunched the numbers,” and found a substantial decline in demand will be needed.