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House sales up, prices down

Chris Bush, Nanaimo News Bulletin, July 7, 2009

Real estate sales in Nanaimo climbed through June, continuing a trend that started in February.

Multiple Listing Service statistics released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board reports show 161 unit sales for June, beating May’s 124 units and well above June 2008, when just 111 units changed ownership in Nanaimo.

While sales are up, Nanaimo prices are down slightly from April’s average unit price of $352,555 – the highest so far this year.

June’s average property price of $336,920 is down nine per cent compared to June 2008’s average price of $372,100.

The Nanaimo region is maintaining more stable property values compared to elsewhere on the Island, such as Port Alberni, which is down 22 per cent, and Campbell River, down 20 per cent compared to June 2008.

Cowichan Valley remains down 12 per cent and Comox Valley is down 10 percent. Prices in Parksville Qualicum are up one per cent at $393,958 compared to $391,543 for June 2008.

Subhadra Ghose, past VIREB president, said Nanaimo’s sales figures are good news and credits the local market’s performance to historically low interest rates, limited product supply, Nanaimo’s location and amenities, and having Vancouver Island University as an additional economic driver.

“I was not expecting it to recover until the next year, but I’m so happy to see that it means the local economy is getting stronger and people’s confidence is coming slowly back,” said Ghose. “But I’m still cautiously optimistic.”

Landcor Data Corporation, which provides current value assessment on all properties in B.C. and tracks real estate trends through its Market Monitor service over a two-year time frame, shows Nanaimo’s property prices and sales peaked in July and August of 2007 before dropping sharply through the fall and winter months.

Prices rose again in the spring and summer of 2008 before dropping again from August 2008 to February 2009