'Another busy summer': Island real estate market stays strong after record-setting year

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New real estate program coming to Holland College

2017 is off to another strong start for real estate in P.E.I., after a record-setting 2016.

While the total number of homes sold on this Island this year to date, 338, remains about the same as this time last year, the number of higher-priced homes being sold continues to see an upward trend, as buyers are drawn to P.E.I. by the relatively affordable prices compared to other major centres across Canada.

"As we hear about the national things about Toronto and Vancouver and these huge bidding wars and 17 and 18 buyers, we haven't come across that many," said Joel Ives, owner of Century 21 Colonial Realty in Charlottetown.

"We are getting into where people who are interested in moving, are motivated, so when they see the right house come up, they act on it. Usually if it's special for one, it's special for two. So that's when we get into not bidding wars, but multiple offers. We're seeing some of that."

So far this year, the total volume sold on the Island is $68 million compared to $61 million last year.

'For the dead of winter, it was quite remarkable'

Nancy Field always planned to one day move back to P.E.I. to retire after living in Fredericton for more than 30 years.

When she and her partner found the perfect home in Charlottetown, they decided to set the wheels in motion.  

First though, she had to sell her parents home, which she'd inherited. It didn't take long at all. Just three months, which isn't much time in P.E.I.

"I'd had a couple of offers and lots of interest," Field said. "People coming for private showings, an open house. So, for the dead of winter, it was quite remarkable I thought."

A fresh start for Field, and a good start for the real estate industry on P.E.I.

'That dream of home ownership'

"We have a very robust provincial nominee program and a lot of people moving specifically to P.E.I. from other countries, are looking for that dream of home ownership where it's just not a reality in some of the countries in the world," said Mary Jane Webster of the PEI Real Estate Association.

"We're also seeing a lot of inter-provincial migration, so people selling out in the hot markets like Toronto and Vancouver moving here. Again, affordability and lifestyle."

One of the busiest sectors in the real estate market continues to be for first-time home buyers.

Homes that are put on the market are usually sold quickly. Some aren't even listed.

"Buyers today are very smart, smarter than they've ever been before," said Ives. "We all have more information than ever before, so they know when something comes up and they can compare it to what has sold, what has been on the markets. So, when they're ready to go, they're ready to go."

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