Nanaimo home sales strong into fall

NANAIMO – Nanaimo home sales driven by low interest rates, a low Canadian dollar and snowbirds migrating home from U.S.

Nanaimo’s real estate sales are holding a healthy trend as summer moves toward fall.

Prices and sales that got a boost in the spring are cooling somewhat, but are still well above 2014 figures, according to the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, which recently released its August figures.

Nanaimo’s market continued a strong trend through August with 128 single family homes sold. That’s down from 148 homes sold in July, but still 24 per cent higher than August 2014 when 103 homes swapped owners. Nanaimo also led the Island market north of the Malahat for number of homes sold.

Single family homes in Nanaimo sold for just over $389,000 on average, up six percent from the median price for the same period last year. Townhomes sold for just over $224,000 on average and the a average price of an apartment was just over $203,000. Both categories show small overall price increases for the last 36 months.

Parksville/Qualicum was the only region to demand high mean home prices at close to $414,000 per home.

Janice Stromer, VIREB Nanaimo board director and realtor with Nanaimo Realty Royal LePage, said the market is being driven by multiple factors that include low interest rates, a low dollar and a seven-year sales cycle.

“Somewhat, it’s the sales cycle,” Stromer said. “Seven years up, seven years down. 2008 was where the crash happened and now it’s 2015, coincidently, seven years later.”

Another factor is people selling homes purchased inexpensively in the U.S. following the 2008 economic crash, many of whom are retirees. Sixty per cent Island home buyers were retirees in 2014.

“Now with the dollar going down we seem to get some of the snowbird retirees activity back here again,” Stromer said.

She said reasonably priced homes continue to be strong sellers.

“Any reasonably priced house in a reasonable area is getting snapped up, especially in the mid [price] ranges,” Stromer said.