To say that 2020 has been an unusual year would be an understatement. From a real estate perspective, the market was essentially truncated several times by government lockdowns and restrictions causing people to stop looking at homes and causing the market to collapse in some areas for months at a time.
Within the Comox Valley, real estate activity normally increases in the late February timeframe and it peaks around May and the continues strongly until Labour Day. This predictable pattern did not occur in 2020. After the first government lockdowns were announced many real estate agents such a significant decline in activity and sales and some saw a total collapse for several months. What should have been the best part of the year became the worst. When one of the major ferry routes was shut down by the government the situation became worse as many people from the mainland were unable to go to the island to look for retirement homes, relocation homes needed for job relocations, and in some cases, they had to sell homes but were unable to. Clearly, the lockdowns and restrictions resulted in unprecedented damage to the local real estate industry.
As we approach the end of 2020 things were starting to appear a little brighter as more people were getting out to look at homes and sellers were once again listing homes for sale. However, the most recent non-essential travel bans once again hit the local market hard as many people who had been active looking to buy homes decided to delay such activity until after the most recent restrictions were lifted.
The Comox resale homes market is a small market and any significant disruption can significantly affect it. While listings continue to appear on the market, they are not numerous and when they represent real estate value they tend to be sold fairly quickly. This places people who have to travel to this market from the mainland at a significant disadvantage because of the travel time required. As well, many listings in the average price range of the market result in multiple offer situations where the selling prices are frequently above market value. These sales, because they take place in a small market, then tend to skew the average and median home prices in the market.
Even though buying and selling in the current Comox resale homes market has been challenging, there still are some great opportunities for buyers and seller who are ready to buy and sell. Having a realtor with expert knowledge in the market is essential during these unprecedented times because each small part of the market is different and so is the market activity behavior. What is happening in one part of the Comox Valley may be quite different from another part so it is important not to generalize and draw any conclusions about market behavior across the entire region. For example, Crown Isle is a high-end neighbourhood in Courtenay where list to sales ratios are often very different from a rural area like Merville. In fact, it is also quite different than the Town of Comox and the Comox Peninsula.
As we approach the end of 2020, we are all optimistic that 2021 will be better and that we will be back to normal in the near future.