To date, 2022 has been a year where interest rate hikes have dominated large swaths of conversations in the business world, and especially the real estate world. Even some of the country's more stable markets, like Vancouver Island, have felt the impact of continuous increases.
"The uncertainty around the number -- and extent -- of increases we can expect have caused a degree of hesitancy on the part of purchasers," says Christine Ryan, a Vancouver Island-based Sales Manager at Sotheby's International Realty Canada. "Buyers are often sellers too, which is likely the cause of sales decreasing 46% across Vancouver Island from this time last year."
That hesitancy has not affected prices, however, as Ryan notes the average price for a single-family dwelling in Greater Victoria is $1,062,500, which is only a 1.7% decrease compared to September 2021.
The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) shows the benchmark for the same kind of property to be $816,700 in September, up from $718,100 a year ago, indicating health in the market.
"This fall we see a return to a more balanced market," Ryan says. "Across Vancouver Island, buyers are afforded more choice with a wider selection of homes to choose from, and sellers are coming to terms with the fact that homes which are priced for a balanced market are selling well."
In other words, people are waiting to see how things play out, but the Island has characteristics that keep things stable.
For instance, being an island, Vancouver Island has a large supply of waterfront properties -- and it has the demand to match.
"There is a demand for prime oceanfront land in this area, which tends to attract established professionals from elsewhere in BC, and beyond, who desire to build that dream home and retire to [the] beauty and peace of the Island," Ryan notes.
Nanaimo is one particular city Ryan says people should keep both eyes on. "Nanaimo is a vibrant community experiencing burgeoning growth due to its close proximity to Vancouver," she says. To that tune, the benchmark price in Nanaimo is now up to $843,000, which is 15% higher than a year ago.
Similarly, Parksville -- further up the east coast from Nanaimo -- and Qualicum -- further north from Parksville -- have seen similar increases for similar reasons. The benchmark price of homes in those regions is now $937,800, an increase of about 12% since September 2021.
Areas of Vancouver Island like these are popular with retirees, while other neighbourhoods have the infrastructure that attracts younger families. The continuing work-from-home phenomenon has also brought a number of relocations from the Lower Mainland, plus an increase in the count of existing islanders moving from urban centres to rural locales out of a desire for more space.
In essence, the Island seems to offer something for (almost) everyone.
"Vancouver Island is consistently ranked as one of the most desirable places to live in Canada, due to our temperate climate, relatively affordable property prices, and the slower-paced lifestyle," Ryan says. "We are fortunate to experience one of the most stable markets in all of Canada."
This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.