Sales in the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) area returned to seasonally normal levels in January after experiencing the busiest December on record. The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) has released its monthly sales report, showing sales returning seasonally normal levels in January after the busiest December on record. Higher interest rates and the new mortgage stress test are expected to erode purchasing power for some buyers in 2018.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) notes that the housing market in B.C. is still thriving due to the province’s strong economy. However, some economic headwinds in the form of higher interest rates and Guideline B-20 – also known as the mortgage stress test – are forecast for 2018. BCREA expects economic growth in the province to slow this year, expanding at a respectable 2.8 percent, but lower than we have seen in some time. Rising interest rates will erode affordability for some home buyers, and Guideline B-20 could reduce the purchasing power of conventional mortgagors by up to 20 percent.

Last month, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area hit $379,600, an increase of 22 percent from the previous January. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $463,700, up 17 percent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $418,600, an increase of 15 percent compared to January 2017. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 19 percent to $514,400 while the ParksvilleQualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 14 percent to $519,700 from one year ago and dip slightly from December 2017. The cost of a benchmark home in Port Alberni reached $259,100, up 20 percent from one year ago.

Excerpt from VIREB Press Release on Feb. 1, 2018.