2020: Wow, what a ride! Prices went up, inventory went down. January and February were ticking along, then came March and COVID-19. Offices closed, people working from home as never before, April and May were pretty quiet though lots of interest, not much in the way of sales. When June began, things came back with a vengeance like no one would have predicted.
Important information about Comox Valley real estate:
The following information is from end of year 2020 statistics and supports the overall decline in sales numbers as a result of less people selling, therefore less available to purchase. It also reflects a general reduction in activity due to government strategies aimed at cooling the real estate market – from the B-20 stress test for financing, foreign buyer’s tax which is not applicable in this area yet but does have some impact, constant threats of increased interest rates along with other measures.
- This past year in real estate (2020) ended much as it began with more buyers than sellers. It is very different from anything I remember over the life of my 33 year real estate career. We saw less listings, taking less time to sell, more people wanting to buy, multiple offers on most properties and rising prices.
- The average price of single family homes was on the rise in 2019 and that trend continued throughout 2020, beginning at about $580,000 in January and finishing out the year at $632,000. Total number of single family sales in all price ranges were down from just 850 to 778 between 2019 and 2020.
- By far the most active price ranges for homes are between $450,000 and $800,000, accounting for 78% of the total market with $400,000 to $450,000 and $800,000 to $1,000,000 encompassing another 17% of the sales;
- As usual, the majority of all single family sales in our area occur in Comox , but there has been a shift with the City of Courtenay now moving ahead of East Courtenay (which has historically been second to Comox). Sales in Comox, at just over 26% of the total market, amounted to 204 in total for the year, up from a 20% market share in 2019. With infill, subdivision and new construction in Courtenay City, sales sat at 22% with 172 of total area sales and East Courtenay moving down slightly from 2019 at to 16.9% or 132 sales.
- Due to new homes being built and more lots coming on the market in Cumberland, it has picked up 1% of that market change now sitting at just under 9% of the total number of sales with 70 in 2020. Also of interest is that Cumberland prices are now in line with the rest of the municipalities in the Comox Valley as far as sale prices with the majority of them between $450,000 and $700,000. With home sales in Crown Isle at 72 in 2020, that is double what they were in 2019 and it looks like what has happened there is that all other areas have caught up to Crown Isle pricing where the bulk of the market was between $600,000 and $900,000 There is a wide range of sales numbers and prices in all other areas that has, interestingly, decreased from the previous year to almost 15% of the local sales market from 30% in 2019. It appears that buyers preferred to live in town in 2020 by quite a wide margin which would account for the bigger numbers in urban areas.
- In the rural areas – outside Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland – there was quite a change last year with the number of sales on the Comox Peninsula and Courtenay North, Courtenay South, Courtenay West and Union Bay/Fanny Bay tallying just half the sales of the previous year. Two other notable mentions are Merville/Black Creek and Mt. Washington. In the case of Merville/Black Creek, sales dropped last year by more than 30% and Mt. Washington sales figures increased by over 40%.
- Interesting that in 2019, 66% of what was listed actually sold and in 2020 that increased to 88% which is similar to the 2017 market and still much better than other previous years. At this moment it is very much a sellers’ market because of low inventory and huge demand – in part because of COVID-19, it seems.
- As always, buyers are particular about what they will buy and what they are prepared to pay for it, but they will pay based on their experience which has elevated sales prices much to some buyers’ consternation.
- The condominium market remains strong with the most listings being apartment-style, but the best prices realized are for patio or townhomes. Of note is that there were almost as many patio and townhome sales in 2020 as in 2019 and of apartment style condos too, along with increased prices. All are being built even though the time from inception to realization is still of concern to developers and there are more rental apartments under construction now too. Townhouse sales have been good and they, along with the single family market, have seen considerable increases in sale prices. They continue to be a preference for certain buyers because of the built in maintenance and affordability while providing good living space in comparison to single family home price, age and size.
- The lot market has really picked up with some subdivision taking place in Courtenay, Cumberland and Crown Isle primarily. While there were 175 active listings, up only a little from 163 in 2019, there were twice the sales over the past year with the average price at about $334,000. The lack of affordable development property is a factor and has lead to the majority of subdivisions being bought up by builders. The increase in initial price, infrastructure and building costs has pushed up the cost of new construction as well.
- To summarize, the most active price ranges up to the end of December are now $450,000 to $800,000. There were a significant number of people, 604 or almost 78% of total sales, who sold their homes between $450,000 and $800,000 and only 85 sales over $800,000. That includes less sales than in 2019 over $1M down from 41 to 26.
With historically low interest rates still anticipated to be around for awhile and prices relative to many other locations still reasonable, it remains to be a good time for buyers to take advantage and invest in real estate in 2021 if you have a downpayment and consistent income. You have to live somewhere and it doesn’t seem best for you to pay the landlord when you can invest in yourself. Also, buyers who have been waiting for prices to drop could simply remain out of the market longer since it doesn’t seem likely that will happen in the next while.
Sellers in some price ranges still have to be patient, but with the number of active listings declining it looks like it will continue to be a sellers’ market. It is always important for people with their property on the market to do what they can to make it stand out from the masses, which includes being price conscious.
If you are considering selling or buying a home/investment in 2021, wondering about the current market or just wanting to talk to me about your real estate, I’d love to hear from you! I will provide you with professionalism, integrity, honest, accurate information, local market expertise and keep you current which are all valuable insights that I can offer as your real estate agent.
If you’re looking to buy real estate in the Comox Valley or you want to list your home for sale. Contact Janice Leffler today!