The usually sizzling late summer real estate market fizzled a bit in August.

Sales of single-family homes on Vancouver Island dipped by 11 per cent year over year and were nine percent lower than in July.  The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board says 413 single-family homes sold board-wide in August. This is compared to 453 in July and 463 in August 2018. 

Year-over-year sales of apartments and townhouses dropped by 28 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.

The board’s past president Don McClintock said the market is mixed.

“While our total number of sales is a little lower than it is in 2018, we still have a really comfortable, active market,” he said.

On a positive note, McClintock said the market is adjusting to restrictions from the B-20 stress test.

“The stress test has had a lasting effect on buyers’ capacity to buy,” he said. 

“It’s significantly reduced their buying power. And I think adjustments are setting in because it’s been around now for quite some time, and there are more listings out, as well, which are giving buyers a little wider choice. I think we are seeing the first-time buyers adjusting and continuing to work their way into the market.”

As well, the board says sellers are curbing their expectations formed during the booming markets of 2016 and 2017.  On the Sunshine Coast including Powell River and Sechelt, the market treaded water.

A total of 49 detached homes, six townhouses, and five apartments changed hands on the coast in August. That’s a dip from July, when 63 houses, seven townhouses, and six apartments sold. But it’s level with August 2018, when 54 houses, six townhouses, and two apartments sold.

In the Comox Valley, sales of single family homes edged up one percent last month compared to August 2018. A total of 74 houses changed hands in the valley, however, July was especially prolific with 89 transactions.

In the meantime, there was a slowdown in Campbell River with 41 house sales in August.  That marks a 15 percent dip from August 2018, when 48 deals were made.

At the same time, it’s becoming more expensive to buy real estate across the island.

The benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area last month was $445,100, an increase of 10 per cent over August 2018.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price reached $518,200, up by two per from a year ago. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $474,400, an increase of four per cent from August 2018. 

Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose slightly to $560,200 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by three per cent to $590,000. The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $318,200 in August, a five per cent increase from one year ago.

Another x-factor is the influence of buyers selling more expensive homes on the mainland and migrating to more affordable spots on the island. McClintock said Vancouver Island continues to be a destination point for people across Canada and the U.S.

“I think we’ll have steady, positive in-migration for years to come, and that’s one thing that will sustain our market,” he said.