A graph showing home sales over the past 20 years in Port Alberni. (PHOTO COURTESY THE FENTON REPORT)

A graph showing home sales over the past 20 years in Port Alberni. (PHOTO COURTESY THE FENTON REPORT)

Port Alberni realtors see strange year in 2022

Shift from seller’s market to buyer’s market took place midway through the year

The Port Alberni real estate market had a very unusual year in 2022.

The 2022 real estate market experienced two dramatically different halves, says Chris Fenton of Royal LePage Pacific Rim Realty. In the first half of the year, houses were selling on average 1.45 percent above the listing price, while in the second half they were selling 4.58 percent below the listing price. The number of houses sold in the second half of the year dropped 50 percent and took 100 percent longer to sell. As a result, the average sale price declined by 10 percent in the second half of 2022.

Realtor Daniel Savard of the Fenton Group says he hasn’t ever seen such a drastic shift in the market, with prices rising so fast and coming down just as quickly. Even in 2008, during the housing market crash, Savard says the change wasn’t quite as drastic.

The initial rise was triggered by COVID-19, said Savard. A lack of supply caused prices to skyrocket, and people who were afraid that they were going to be priced out of the market rushed in to buy.

“Properties were selling over the listing price, we were getting multiple offers on every property,” Savard recalled. “It became a very competitive market for a buyer to buy a home.”

Realtors started to see hints of a shift from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market in March, but this had taken full effect by June. Savard said there were a number of compounding factors that caused the shift: high gas prices, inflation and rising interest rates, just to name a few.

“So many factors happened at the same time,” Savard explained. “Buyers put the brakes on.”

Each year, Fenton takes data from the Multiple Listing Services (MLS) market to compile a summary of the real estate market for the Alberni Valley. His statistics from 2022 show that the median single family house sale price was $563,750, and 56 percent of all homes sold for under $600,000.

There were 308 houses sold in the greater Alberni Valley in 2022, which marks the lowest number of houses sold in a year since 2014. But there were 632 new listings on the market, which is the highest number since 2014.

In Sproat Lake, there was a slight increase in the number of homes sold, but the average sale price decreased by five percent. The average waterfront home on Sproat Lake sold 3.4 percent below the asking price in 2022.

For city building lots, the average sale price went up by 75 percent, with the average price per square foot increasing to $35.37 from the $16.63 posted in 2021. However, the number of lots sold was down 88 percent in 2022.

After such a volatile year, Savard says it’s difficult to predict what will happen next.

“It’s made it very challenging to make predictions right now,” he said. “We’re hoping to see a recovery, that we begin to get busy again for the spring season.”

Port AlberniReal estate