If you’ve been involved in real estate sales for any length of time you’ve already noticed that there has been a gradual shift in the state of the regional marketplace. A decade or so ago the local real estate scene could accurately be described as a Buyer’s Market. People wanted to sell, the inventory of homes on the market was large and buyers were able to snap up some real bargains. My how the times have changed!

The 2017 Vancouver Island real estate marketplace can now only be described as a Seller’s Market, with a shrinking supply of homes for sale, and an eager assortment of buyers on hand to snap up those properties that do become available.

In its latest statistical snapshot the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reported that last month (March) 484 single family homes were sold in the VIREB coverage area – which is essentially all of Vancouver Island, north of the Malahat. The sales stats from last month represent a seven percent drop from March 2016 when 518 homes were reported sold.

The big story for home sellers was that the inventory of available homes across the Island continued to shrink last month, dramatically. In March 2016 the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) had a total of 1,598 single family home listed for sale. This March there were only 1,023 homes available for sale on Vancouver Island – a drop of 36 percent!

Sales activity within the VIREB coverage area has remained very active as buyers were eager to snap up whatever homes became available. For example, sales activity in March was up a full 40 percent from February. Traditionally the spring and the fall are some of the busiest seasons for real estate sales – so given the spike in sales that occurred last month, April promises to be a very busy month.

Another sign that the regional real estate marketplace has become a Seller’s Market is related to average sales price. The benchmark price of a home sold in Nanaimo last month was $452,900 – an increase of 23 percent over a year ago. Homes in the Parksville and Qualicum Beach area climbed to an average price of $463,500 in March, an increase of 18 percent. Similar price spikes were reported in virtually every region of the Island.

In essence the latest VIREB statistics show that fewer homes were sold last month, far fewer homes are available for sale than there were a year ago, and those homes that did sell cost more than those sold in 2016. So what does it all mean? If you are thinking about placing your home on the market there has never been a better time. Conversely, if you are wanting to purchase a home now is the right time, before the prices start to climb.

Both Sellers and Buyers can benefit from such a dynamic marketplace. Mortgage rates continue at near record lows, and while prices have started to edge upward, Island prices continue to be a real bargain when compared to the cost of homes in the Lower Mainland and elsewhere.

The key to any successful real estate transaction is the local knowledge of your REALTOR®. If wanting to buy or sell, always check with your sales professional. They will know where the bargains are, and have the background to get you the best price possible if selling your home.