Opinion: Riding a red hot market

Chilliwack's sizzling real estate market may be exciting for sellers, but what is it doing to affordability?

If there were any doubts about Chilliwack’s red hot real estate market, the latest numbers by the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board put them to rest.

“We have never seen anything like this in the history of the board,” said CADREB President Richard Admiraal.

Not only are more homes being sold, but they’re selling for more money.

That should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention. Almost as soon as a for sale sign goes up in a neighbourhood, it’s covered by a sold sign.

Other homes are being snapped up before the sign is even in the ground.

On any given weekend cars can be seen trolling neighbourhoods – not in search of garage sales, but homes just new to the market.

Anecdotally, there are stories of multiple offers and bidding between eager buyers.

And its not just the existing housing market that’s feeling the boom.

New home construction is on a tear, with rezoning applications stacking up at City Hall, and new subdivision being mapped out.

What’s fueling this sizzling market is a strong economy, and the realization by many outside Chilliwack there are deals to be found at this end of the valley.

Of course, there is a down side to all this activity – affordability.

Yes, homes here are still substantially cheaper than in Vancouver, Langley and even Abbotsford. But the red hot market is making it more challenging for young people to buy their first home.

Add to that a dwindling supply of rental properties, and affordable accommodation becomes even more difficult.

While it’s hard not to get swept up in the enthusiasm surrounding a booming real estate market, it’s important for city council to ensure enough options remain for those who love Chilliwack, yet fear they might be driven out by high prices.