This graph shows housing prices in the Alberni Valley over the past 20 years. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS FENTON)

This graph shows housing prices in the Alberni Valley over the past 20 years. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS FENTON)

Alberni Valley sees historic rise in housing prices in 2021

Rate of increase expected to slow down in 2022

The average home sale price in the Alberni Valley broke the half-million dollar mark for the first time in history last year.

According to Chris Fenton of Royal LePage Pacific Rim Realty, the housing market in 2021 was characterized by robust demand and a significant lack of supply.

“At the very beginning of the pandemic, people who were going to put their house on the market decided not to,” said Fenton. “It created a lack of supply.”

As a result, prices started to “skyrocket,” said Fenton, and people who were afraid that they were going to be priced out of the market “rushed in” to buy.

“Now we have a lack of supply and an exponential growth in demand,” he said.

Each year, Fenton takes data from the Multiple Listing Services (MLS) market to provide a summary of the real estate market for the Alberni Valley. His statistics show the average sale price for a single-family home in the Alberni Valley was up 26 percent in 2021, while the median sale price was up 28 percent. The number of homes sold in 2021 was up 19 percent over the previous year. But the number of new listings on the market in 2021 was up only one percent from the previous year.

“This continues the pandemic-era trend of a strong seller’s market,” said Fenton.

The average time it took for a home to sell was down 47 percent compared to 2020, and the average home in the Alberni Valley sold 1.1 percent above the asking price.

The number of bare land sales within the City of Port Alberni also increased, and the average price per square foot increased to $16.63 from $12.92 the previous year.

In Sproat Lake, the number of homes sold decreased, and the average sale price increased when compared to the previous year.

Port Alberni is far from the only community on Vancouver Island seeing a pattern of low supply and high demand for housing. According to the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, the year of 2021 ended with near-record sales and record-low inventory. Based on buyer demand, the board suggests that 2021 would have likely set a historic sales record if there had been sufficient supply. The board-wide benchmark price of a single-family home reached $785,300 in December 2021, up 34 percent year over year.

The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $523,700, a 43 percent year-over-year increase.

Royal LePage’s market forecast shows that single-family house prices are expected to continue their increase in 2022.

“But the rate of increase is expected to slow down,” said Fenton.

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