Red hot 2016 for Chilliwack real estate should continue

All-time highs for sales mixed with all-time lows for active listings equals high prices

Last year was a record year for real estate sales in Chilliwack and realtors expect much the same in 2017.

Last year was a record year for real estate sales in Chilliwack and realtors expect much the same in 2017.

While 2016 was a record year for real estate sales in the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB), numbers for the last month of the year seem to point to a cooling.

There were just 165 sales in December 2016 worth $63.9 million, which is down 27.9 per cent compared to the 229 sales worth $82.2 million in December 2015 and down from the 231 sales in November.

Still, 2016 wasn’t only the hottest year on record for CADREB but Chilliwack’s market was the top

performing market in B.C.

And CADREB president Richard Admiraal thinks that December slump won’t last.

“It truly was a banner year,” Admiraal said. “We are seeing a normalization of the market, and already early in January, Realtors are reporting increased activity as the holiday season is behind us.”

While December’s sales dropped, sale prices remain at all-time highs. The median price of a home sold last month across the district was $447,500. That’s up 22 per cent from $367,750 in December 2015.

Broken down by either side of the highway, the Sardis average price was $475,950 and in Chilliwack it was $425,000. Average prices may sound high to locals, but they are proving tempting to those coming from markets to the west.

With an average detached home price in the neighbouring Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB)—which includes from Abbotsford-Mission to North Delta—up 27.4 per cent to $856,700 last month over December 2015, there is still clearly room for movement locally.

For one thing, the FVREB along with the Greater Vancouver board are affected by the foreign buyers tax implemented in August, while CADREB is not.

Another element sure to keep prices at least where they are in Chilliwack is a significant lack of supply.

It was November 2015 when, for the first time since March 2007, the number of listings in CADREB dropped below 1,000. That culminated in a record-low of 543 homes on the market at the end of 2016, a number up slightly this week to 745, according to CADREB.

“We anticipate the next couple of years in local real estate are going to be busy, but not 2016 kind of busy,” Admiraal said in a press release. “There is a good chance that Chilliwack and area can again be the best performing real estate market in the province in the coming year.”

paul.henderson@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch