Part of British Columbia’s picturesque Sunshine Coast, Powell River is situated near the eastern shores of Malaspina Strait, a part of the Georgia Strait, nestled between the mainland of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. Home to just under 14,000 people, Powell River is a tight-knit remote community surrounded by woodland and winding mountainous hiking trails. A large result of many of the lifestyle changes that have occurred due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Powell River real estate has become a “pandemic pivot” for many looking to escape the high prices and hustle and bustle of Metro Vancouver. Over the course of the past 14 months, real estate figures within this local market have soared to record-breaking highs. Here is a look at the most recent numbers coming out of the Powell River housing market, and what we can expect in the months ahead.
Powell River is Booming
As previously alluded to, smaller cities and towns have become more desirable as the nation has worked through the pandemic. A large percentage of Canadians pivoted to remote work-from-home environments, students switched to online learning arrangements, and shops and restaurants closed their doors – living in a large city very quickly lost its appeal. This has led many people to buying real estate in smaller, more quaint towns across Canada as homeowners traded a view of the city skyline for a more natural landscape outside their window.
Powell River is no exception to this. This past June, unit sales of residential properties in the town have more than doubled the number posted in June 2020. The Powell River Sunshine Coast Real Estate Board registered 55 unit sales in June 2021 – a 103.7% surge from June 2020. This number is also 34.8% higher than the five-year average and 42.5% above the 10-year average for the month, showing that current sales levels are well above typical. Neil Frost, President of the Powell River Sunshine Coast Real Estate Board, adds “Home sales may have come down from stratospheric levels, but they remain well above average for this time of year, posting the third highest ever June level.”
High unit sales weren’t just witnessed in June alone; in terms of the year-to-date number, the levels of the first six months of 2021 is more than double the first six months of 2020. Home sales for 2021 totalled 252 units and are 129.1% above the same period in 2020.
High unit sales say very little about the average price of a home in the small, British Columbia town. At the end of June 2021, the average price of a home sold was $555,831, both a record and an increase of 32.9% from June 2020. On a year-to-date scale, the average price of a home in Powell River was $510,688 come the end of June; while less than the average price for the month of June, it is an impressive 41.1% increase over the average price of a home for the first six months of 2020.
Factoring in high unit sales with unusually high prices, it is no wonder the sales volume for the small town was so high. More than doubling the volume from June 2020, this past month saw the dollar value of home sales reach $30.6 million – a record for both the month of June and for any month in history.
Higher prices in the area are mostly due to a lack of supply to meet the rising demand. June 2021 saw a huge decline of 23.9% compared to June 2020 when it comes to new listings. Not only is this a drastic decline year-over-year but it is also the lowest number of new listings for the month of June in five years. Lack of new listings contributed to a decline in inventory as active residential listings dropped to 95 units at the end of June; down 42.1% compared to June 2020 and the lowest number of active listings for the month in more than 25 years.
What to Expect in the Powell River Real Estate Market?
After starting the year off in a tight market, supply levels are still struggling to keep pace. This means that after over a year of low supply levels and extremely high demand, it will take the Powell River market a while to recover. Frost adds that, “while overall supply levels have come off their rock bottom in March, they are still trending at some of the lowest in history. Barring an unforeseen drop in demand or sudden boost of new listings it looks like market conditions will remain historically tight in the short term.”