We have seen unprecedented frenetic activity in the new home market during the past year, due mostly to the low inventory of new lots in both the Comox Valley, the Comox Valley Regional District and Campbell River.
New subdivisions are being designed and plans are being submitted to the various municipalities for approval. Builders, eager to build new homes for clients are contacting developers directly to get their names on reserved lists for when the properties are registered.
Lot prices in the Comox Valley and the Campbell River area have risen substantially due to the shortage of lots. Prices in Campbell River range from approximately $90,000 to $200,000; the higher prices account for lots that feature ocean views or are larger in size. Prices in the Comox Valley range from approximately $140,000 to $225,000. These prices are the average price range of lots and there are some lots that may be a little less expensive and some that are more expensive, based on location and size of lots.
One trend we are seeing during the past year is the popularity of lots zoned to include secondary suites, also known as in-law suites or legal suites. Lots that are zoned to accommodate this type of home, is typically selling for about $20,000 to $30,000 more than the lot zoned to allow for the construction of a single-family home.
Different municipalities track secondary suites in a variety of ways. For example, if a lot is zoned to allow for a secondary suite, then it is usually not reported in the building permit statistics, only the value of the home is reported. However, if someone is adding a secondary suite, once the home is built, or the owner is required to report it to the municipality, then that information is released.
Our research shows an approximate 40 per cent increase in the creation of secondary suites in the Comox Valley and in the Campbell River region in 2017 compared 2016.
Both communities continue to show an increase in the average sales price. For March, 2017 the average price was up 18 per cent to $465,892. Campbell River was very similar with a 19 per cent increase to $399,456.
The vacancy rate in the Vancouver Island rental market is at a record low level and this is certainly the case for Campbell River and the Comox Valley. This fact is pushing rents up and is forcing more buyers into the market. In some cases, it is cheaper to own than it is to rent. There are still some older, less expensive condominiums to be found, around the $130,000 to $150,000 range if someone is looking to invest in the market.
Clarice Coty is the editor of Building Links.
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Originally printed in Business Vancouver Island, April 2017 Edition.