With the new year quickly approaching, I’m finally confident enough to make two statements about the Port Alberni real estate market. The first is that the market is continuing strong right through the winter. The second is that house prices are rising in the Alberni Valley.

As you all know, I’m a numbers guy. The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board’s Home Price Index indicates that single family homes in our zone are up about 2.9% from last year. However much I love stats, the truth is that as a Realtor immersed in the business of pricing homes, when the prices are moving I can feel it in my bones.

In my professional opinion there are two segments of the market that have begun moving up in value: (1) the most affordable homes (under $150,000); and (2) anything on acreage below the $400,000 mark.  The typical single family home in the valley has not changed in value much, if at all.  Likewise, bare land and strata units do not appear to be increasing in value at this point. 

Now let’s take a look at the numbers for October 2015 and compare them to October 2014. This October there were 44 new listings of single family homes in the Alberni Valley.  There were 20 sales with a median sale price of $245,000 and average days on the market of 49 days. In October 2014 there were 46 new listings, with 19 sales, a median sale price of $207,000, and an average days on the market of 97 days. What is interesting is that the median sale price was much higher this year, showing that the homes that are selling well this fall are the more expensive homes on the market.

Year-to-date (January 1 to November 15) there have been 604 homes listed for sale in the valley.  There have been 291 sales, with a median sale price of $194,500, and an average days on the market of 82 days.  For the same time period last year there were 586 homes listed, 233 sales, a median sale price of $206,000, and an average days on the market of 100 days.    

The number of single family homes sold is up 25% year-to-date in the Alberni Valley.  That alone is something to celebrate!  Now that we’re all smiling, let me take us back down to earth. The increases we’re seeing in home values appear only in certain segments of the market.  They are not substantial increases, and they did not happen fast.  In economics, studying the past to predict the future is nothing short of crazy.  We do not know that house prices will continue to rise in 2016, and if they do we don’t know by how much.  What we do know is that right now is a great time to smile!