STATS ON BOWEN - June 2021

Real estate market 'heat dome' still driving prices up

     There is a heat dome over the Bowen real estate market and it cooled only slightly in June as year-over-year metrics continued to register record highs.
     I am often asked if prices will go down. After the usual disclaimers about economic downturn, natural disaster, etc., my answer is: Not likely. The market is beginning to see some moderation, but the world outside of Bowen is likely to keep prices high in Vancouver and, where the mainland goes, Bowen follows (although during COVID it has been leading).
     Douglas Todd writes, “Ten thousand more British Columbians a year are moving out of Metro Vancouver [...] than are coming here from elsewhere in B.C.”1 However, the federal government is planning for immigration of 1.2 million people by 2023 and quotes Jacky Chan, president of BakerWest Real Estate Inc., “Vancouver is the favoured destination for the 300,000 or so passport holders who want to escape political instability in Hong Kong.”2
     There will be significant pressure on Lower Mainland home prices and although there is some indication that the price increases we have seen over the past 18 months will moderate, Bowen year-over-year inventory has not been this low in three-and-a-half years and June had the lowest monthly inventory in 10 years—it is still a sellers’ market. Bowen’s average sale price of $1,522,632 is the median sale price for Metro municipalities. Of the 18 homes listed at this writing, only one is under $1.0 million. Five are listed at over $3.0 million.

     While low inventory and pressure on price offers an advantage to sellers, buyers are unlikely to see prices reverse, although they may see some moderation.
     The increase in real estate prices is having an unwelcome and largely unseen impact on the community: the Island is losing economic and social diversity.
     Bowen no longer ranks as one of Metro’s more affordable communities. It is increasing difficult for young families to buy and odds of finding a place to rent feel similar to the odds of winning the lottery. Employees who are essential to Bowen businesses—and some business owners—are finding it increasingly difficult to stay here. The rental units on Seniors Lane will provide relief and security for some, but with the Snug Cove Sewer System at capacity we may not see additional rental or ‘affordable’ housing starts in Snug Cove for several years.
     All levels of government need to make it a priority to work with local organizations to find real solutions to the housing crisis.

STATS ON BOWEN is an analysis of the detached home market activity on Bowen Island
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