Real estate numbers are in and indicate that 2016 was a healthy year for sales, according to statistics collected by Powell River Sunshine Coast Real Estate Board.
Sales numbers increased to 514 completed transactions during 2016, a 14.2 per cent jump over 2015. At the end of December, the median cost for a single-family home in Powell River sat just under $300,000, a roughly 17 per cent increase over December 2015.
Real Estate Board president Neil Frost said last year’s numbers continued a larger trend of the local real estate market’s recovery.
“It was a banner year,” said Frost. “It was one of the busiest on record.”
Statistics show approximately 70 per cent of home purchasers in 2016 were buying a principal residence in Powell River, while approximately 20 per cent were buying for investment. Frost said investment purchases are not driving the market, but factor significantly in the recent rise of home prices in the region.
Almost all areas of the market saw increases, although Frost noted there was a softening in the numbers for first time home buyers, which were down slightly.
April and May of 2016 had solid sales numbers, almost doubling sales from those same months in 2015, while the fall season of 2016 resulted in a slow down.
Almost half of all sales were to out-of-town purchasers, up from just over 40 per cent in 2015.
“It’s the same old story, people are attracted to Powell River’s quality of life and affordability,” said Frost.
He added that while Powell River seemed “relatively undiscovered” in the past, that has now changed. “The secret is out,” said Frost.
The trend of Powell River attracting new residents from the Lower Mainland continued with almost a quarter of sales to out-of-town purchasers coming from communities between Hope and Squamish, up from close to 17 per cent in 2015. Just more than 11 per cent of sales to out-of-town purchasers were to people moving to Powell River for employment, while another 12.6 per cent were to purchasers moving due to retirement.
Frost noted the number of people purchasing for retirement may be higher due to the fact that some homes are being purchased five to 10 years in advance of retirement.
Frost added he does not expect interest in Powell River to die down any time soon, with potential buyers from Squamish and Vancouver coming to look at properties.
“Most provincial indicators are showing the market will continue to be strong,” said Frost.