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Albertans buying into Island’s booming real estate market

Drew Harris, Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, Business Examiner- North,  June 9, 2006

NANAIMO - Ten per cent of Vancouver Island real estate buyers come from Alberta, says the president of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board.

Darrell Paysen says more than 1,600 buyers were surveyed for VIREB's annual Buyer's Profile publication.

"From this we determined the growing percentage of Alberta buyers," he said, quoting the VIREB Buyer's Profile published last fall. The 2005 profile is nearing completion.

Real estate research firm Landcor noted Albertans are buying at twice the rate of other non-B.C. buyers.

The VIREB Buyer's Profile showed eight per cent of buyers originating in Ontario, 3.7 per cent from the rest of the world, 3.4 per cent from Saskatchewan/Manitoba and 2.5 per cent from other points in Canada. It also showed 38 per cent of buyers came from within the same area or elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

"While we will be publishing the 2005 Buyer's Profile later in this year, early numbers from the report show the number of Alberta buyers has grown to 11%," says Paysen.

Alberta buyers looking to semi-retire or retire, have an interest in getting a piece of the action on Vancouver Island.

"There are some who while they may not be ready to retire for seven or eight years, still want to get a piece of property here now to take advantage of the growth. They're planning to be active retirees, who want to live near but not necessarily in an urban centre and are looking for all of the lifestyle and climate qualities that Vancouver Island is becoming known for."

The Landcor study says one of the factors bringing people is the increasing numbers of direct flights between Alberta locations and B.C. destinations, such as the Comox Valley.

"WestJet continues to supply the seats these buyers are arriving on, and after July 1 Air Canada will add 50 seats a day," adds Marty Douglas, a VIREB past President and current Comox Valley Director.

"A 15-unit riverfront strata project recently sold-out in six hours, and 13 of the buyers were from Alberta," he says. "The Calgary average price makes ours seem a bargain.This is a dramatic change from a few years ago when our average price was twice that of Calgary."

VIREB represents approximately 1,027 licensed REALTOR® members in more than 80 member offices on Vancouver Island (north of Victoria).