Nanaimo is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island and offers homebuyers the best of West Coast Living, and a diverse range housing options to choose from. With mountainous views and access to the waterfront there are an abundance of beautiful sights to see when exploring this city. It’s no wonder Nanaimo’s population continues to grow as more people are drawn to this vibrant and thriving community.

Since real estate is an essential service, agents have continued to offer virtual tours, e-signatures, and other strategies for facilitating transactions with your safety in mind. You don’t need to be sidelined from the Nanaimo market if you are keen on starting your home search!

If you have set your sights on this city, then here are real estate market trends that may pique your interest in Nanaimo:

Home Prices

In 2019, the average single-family home in Nanaimo costs $566,023. Compared to Greater Vancouver, Victoria, and other metropolitan areas – real estate in Nanaimo is considered more affordable.

Prior to the pandemic, the market in Nanaimo starting to buzz. In March 2020 sales of single-family homes went up by 36 per cent compared to February 2020 with real estate agents anticipating a busy spring homebuying season. However, this quickly shifted with the public health measures and anxiety surrounding coronavirus, leading to a dramatic decline in home sales and activity during this time. In April this was especially evident with home sales dropping 47 per cent.

A few months later, the current market seems to be healthier. Nanaimo’s benchmark price of a single-family home rose by seven per cent to $593,600 in July year over year. After the significant market dip, home sales are slowly climbing once again. From June to July there has been a 5 per cent increase of sales on single-family homes and a 17 per cent year over year increase.

Most markets in Vancouver have remained sellers’ market throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, giving them the upper hand over buyers. Low supply is also fueling the recovery of the real estate market on Vancouver Island, with some believing that the city has almost fully rebounded from COVID-19’s affects.

Lower Interest Rates

Since the province of British Columbia is in its third phase of its coronavirus reopening plan, this will likely ease anxieties and cause real estate activity to ramp up. Hopeful buyers are expected to flood the market due to pent up demand and low interest rates. As the Bank of Canada holds the 0.25% benchmark rate, this will be enticing for many who want to take advantage of a more affordable mortgage.

Considering this is the lowest the interest rate has ever been, some will be willing to enter the market despite fears of COVID-19, in order to get ahead of the market. They can get the financing they need for a larger home or a home with more of the features they desire.

Once the economy rebounds to pre-pandemic levels, the Bank of Canada may raise interest rates once again. Therefore, those who have their hearts set on a home in Nanaimo may consider taking advantage of these accessible rates, depending on their personal situation.

Varied Demand for Home Types

Across real estate markets on Vancouver Island, a total of 892 units  were sold in July 2020, down four per cent year over year. Of these units sold, the majority were single-family detached homes (574). There is increased demand for single-family homes versus condos and townhomes.

This could be the result of buyers feeling more cooped up as a result of social distancing measures which has ignited a desire for more space. Alternatively, people active in the market may be move-up buyers, and since pandemic-related unemployment disproportionately affected young people, this may be keeping them sidelined. Research shows that sales of condos decreased by 14 per cent year over year. Meanwhile townhome sales dropped by 16 per cent.

Purchasing a home may be challenging during this time. However, the Nanaimo real estate market is serviced by a trusted community of agents who can safely facilitate the home buying or selling experience. This could be the right time for you to make the leap into the Nanaimo market and find your dream home. Start by taking the time to understand how this market is rebounding after COVID-19, so that you can map your homebuying timeline strategically.