2019 Housing Market ends on a positive note with growth expectations for 2020.
Sales of single-family homes in December increased by 40% from one year ago and were 24% lower than in November.
Last month, 237 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 312 in November and 169 one year ago. Apartment sales in December rose by 68% year over year.
Inventory of single-family homes last month was virtually the same as in December 2018 (937 to 934) but dipped by 19% from November 2019. Active listings of apartments rose by 10% (270 to 298) year over year while townhouse inventory dropped by 35% (148 to 96).
The benchmark price of a single-family home board-wide was $518,000 in December, a 5% increase from one year ago and marginally higher than in November. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.)
Benchmark price of a single-family home:
• Campbell River area last month was $423,900, an increase of 2% over December 2018.
• Comox Valley, the benchmark price reached $528,600, up by 4% from one year ago.
• Duncan reported a benchmark price of $484,700, an increase of 6% from December 2018.
• Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 1% to $583,400.
• Port Alberni reached $324,500 in December, a 9% increase from one year ago.
Trend-wise, VIREB’s housing market is balanced in most areas and inching towards a buyers’ market in a few zones. Overall, however, home sales and listing activity are at typical levels for our region. REALTORS® across the Island are reporting that there is interest among buyers, but many are taking a wait-and-see approach.
• Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose by 4% to $562,000 in December.
Single Family Home Sales:
Single Family Units Reported Sold:
Single Family Sales By Subarea:
Months of inventory for single detached homes numbered 4.6 at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, down from the 6.6 months recorded at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018.
The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity. Despite a tighter market, homes spent more time on the market in the fourth quarter of 2019 than they had a year earlier. The median number of days on market for single detached homes was 48 in the fourth quarter of 2019, up slightly from 43 days in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Bank of Canada keeps interest rates on hold in December.
Bank of Canada announced in December that it was keeping its trend-setting overnight lending rate unchanged at 1.75%. This marks the ninth straight interest rate decision where the Bank has held rates steady. On December 4th, the benchmark five-year lending rate was still 5.19%, where it has remained since being trimmed mid-July by a quarter of a percentage point. All mortgage applicants must qualify for financing based on an interest rate no less than the benchmark five-year lending rate, even if the mortgage is for less than five years. Canada’s major chartered banks are currently advertising five-year fixed mortgage interest rates of around 3%. Homebuyers can often negotiate the interest rate for mortgage financing based on their creditworthiness and the degree to which they do other banking business with the mortgage lender. The Bank of Canada’s next interest rate announcement will be on January 22nd, 2020, when it also will release its revised economic outlook.
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