A survey done by Port Alberni realtor Chris Fenton states that 41 per cent of homebuyers who bought a home in the Alberni Valley over the past 12 months have come from out of town.
“There’s never really been any good data on this,” said Fenton, who is frequently asked by residents where buyers are coming from.
“I printed out the sales from every realtor in our office and I asked them to go through them one by one and then to mark where the buyer came from.”
The data was collected from clients who purchased a home in the Valley between June 2015 and July 2016.
Of the 41 per cent of out-of-town buyers, 33 per cent are coming from elsewhere on Vancouver Island; 30 per cent are coming from Vancouver; 26 per cent are coming from outside of B.C.—mainly Alberta and Ontario—nine per cent are coming from interior B.C. and two per cent are international.
Fenton said some of these purchases are people moving to the Valley and others are investments and that both are good for the real estate economy.
“The people who are investing, some of them will invest long-term but some will be investing on speculation in the market rising, so if the market starts to decline years down the road those people may sell and then we’re sort of back to square one,” Fenton said.
As for the folks moving to the Valley, especially for retirement, Fenton said they are contributing back to the local economy by paying taxes and shopping locally.
As real estate prices in Vancouver continue to soar, buyers are turning to the Island to find their dream homes or a place to retire.
According to the Real Estate Board of greater Vancouver the benchmark price of an apartment property in the Lower Mainland increased 27.4 per cent from July 2015 to $510,600 and the benchmark price for detached properties increased 38 per cent from July 2015 to $1,578,300.
“I guess what is happening is Vancouver has become so unaffordable that people are starting to move,” Fenton said. “They start by moving to Victoria and Nanaimo—the closest places in terms of ferries—and then they start to spread out on the Island.”
Fenton said Port Alberni inventory is relatively low right now because available homes are selling quickly.
“As people start to buy, the inventory starts to slowly dwindle,” Fenton said. “Low inventory means supply is low and demand is high which is exactly what’s causing the market to rise.”
According to a press release from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) low inventory is contributing to rising benchmark prices for single-family homes, townhouses and apartments on the Island.
“Home buyers in the VIREB area have a variety of price points as options,” said Margo Hoffman, 2016 VIREB president in a press release.
“The benchmark price of a single-family home ranges from a low of $209,600 in Port Alberni to a high of $443,800 in the Parksville-Qualicum area, so there is a price to suit almost everyone.”
In July 2016 the price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $209,600, up 7.86 per cent from 2015.