The entire Comox Valley homes estate market market peaked in 2007 but then began a marked decline the following year. What happened? The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) revised its 2011 forecast for home sales activity on the 8th of February 2011. Nationally residential sales were forecast to drop by 1.6% compared to the previous year (439,900 sales in 2011 compared to 447,010 in 2010). For British Columbia sales were forecast to drop by 2.9% (72,500 in 2011 compared to 74,640 in 2010). At the same time average prices were expected to rise nationally by 1.3% while those in British Columbia were expected to rise by 3.0%. The press release added that “The Comox Valley housing market and buyer psychology is different now than it was at the beginning of last year, so buyers and sellers would do well to consult their Realtor to understand local market conditions”. While these statistics were interesting they did not reflect what was happening with the Comox Valley.
On the 15th of March, CREA stated that national resale housing activity in February 2011 was close to the five-year average for the month with actual sales activity down 5.9% from the levels reported last February. The press release added that national average prices rose 8.8% but that this figure was skewed by a record number of multi-million dollar sales in Greater Vancouver.
The British Columbia Real Estate Association, on 23 February 2011 forecast an increase in sales by 8% in 2011 (80,900 in 2011 compared to 74,640 in 2010). This forecast was based on projected employment and population growth that would fuel increased consumer demand. It is interesting to note the qualifying statement that followed – “higher mortgage interest rates and tighter credit conditions for low equity home buyers will limit home sales to below the 10-year average of 87,600 units. Nothing was said of the influence of the Vancouver market.
On 14 March 2011 BCREA mentioned the Vancouver market stating that sales were up 8% in February 2011 compared to the previous year and that prices were up 18%. So, CREA forecasts a drop in sales for BC of 2.9% while BCREA forecasts an increase of 8%. But what about the Comox Valley real estate market and where is it headed for 2011?
On 2 March 2011 the Vancouver Real Estate Board discussed its statistics and stated “To effectively analyze real estate statistics for the purpose of buying or selling a home, it’s critical to focus on your neighbourhood of choice because, like we see today, conditions and prices can fluctuate significantly within the same city or municipality.” This statement is particularly relevant if, for example, you were focused on buying a home in the Comox real estate homes segment of our Comox Valley market.
Closer to home the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB), on 1 March 2011, stated that total sales decreased by 3% in February 2011 when compared to the previous year. Clearly, there are some differences in forecasts. What is clear, however, is that real estate, like politics, is local.
Real estate statistics for the nation, province, island, and local community can vary for good and valid reasons. Before using any of these statistics as a benchmark for decision-making it is best to consult with a local real estate professional who knows the local market and how to analyze it. For example, last year in the Comox Valley there were substantially different sales to listing ratios for homes in the below $300,000 price range and those in the greater than $700,000 price range. I did an analysis of 2010 statistics for the Comox Valley that I share with my clients when they are considering buying or selling a home in the Comox Valley.
Ask your Comox Valley Realtor ® to discuss factors such as time on market data, price-level listing to sales ratio differences, and local neighborhood differences with you before making important decisions on buying or selling a home. While many different factors contribute to activity and prices in a given market, it often comes down to what buyers are willing to pay.
There is a great deal of information available to REALTORS® in the Comox Valley. The key is ensuring relevance and applicability to a specific situation. If you would like to know the market price of your home in the Comox Valley contact Brett Cairns of RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty. He can make effective use of the resources that are available to provide you the information that you need to help you buy or sell your home in the Comox Valley with confidence.
by Brett Cairns