residential home prices

There is a wide range of housing choices in Nanaimo, from waterfront estates to condos. Because of the mountainous terrain, many properties offer spectacular views and all residents have access to the waterfront from public access paths.  Due to the area’s recent population growth, much of the housing has been built within the past 25 years.

Single-detached homes make up the majority of housing in the area. As the city grows the mix of housing is changing, with a proportional decline in single family residences and an increase in multi-family housing types.  In total, there were about 41,900 dwelling units in Nanaimo at the time of the 2011 Census, an increase of 25% from 2006 when there were 33,525 dwelling units in the city. 

Despite the area’s population growth, Nanaimo remains an affordable place to live. Average Single family detached home in Nanaimo was $391,313 in 2015 (Source: VIREB).  In March 2016, the average price of a new single detached home in Nanaimo was $524,705 in Vancouver CMA it was $1,778,913 and Victoria CMA it was $858,563 (Source CMHC Q2-2016)

Real estate sales are handled by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB).  There are approximately 340 real estate agents that serve the Nanaimo market. The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board also provides statistical information about the real estate market in Nanaimo and other communities on Vancouver Island.

Housing in Nanaimo is considerably more affordable when compared to near markets such as Victoria and Greater Vancouver (Nanaimo housing costs are approximately a quarter of the Vancouver housing costs).

Post 2008 recession, the average housing price has been picking up due to low interest rates, economic recovery, andincreased in-migration.

rent and vacancy rates

The 2011 Census indicated that 26% of Nanaimo residents rent the dwelling they live in, while 74% own their home. 

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) conducted their semi-annual rental market survey of Nanaimo in October 2015.  Table 5 profiles the average rents and vacancy rates for various types of rental accommodation in Nanaimo.

Average rents increased in every category for both private apartments and row housing types. Vacancy rates increased for Bachelor type of accommodation but dropped for virtually every other category in Fall of 2015 compared to Fall of 2014.  Overall vacancy rates decreased by 2.4 percentage points for private apartment types, and by 1.4 percentage points for private row (townhouse) type.  The largest increase in average rent was for 2 bedroom apartment and row housing type.  The largest drop in vacancies was for 1 bedroom Private row townhouses (5.3 percentage points). The number of total private row and apartment units available for rent increased from 3,742 to 3750.

The rental vacancy rate for Nanaimo region has been declining steadily since spring of 2013 (8.3%) per graph above.  In the Fall of 2015 the vacancy rate was 2.0%, while one year earlier the vacancy rate was 4.4%. Low vacancy rates and rising rents signal the market for new development projects leading to greater construction activity.

commercial lease rates

Prime commercial real estate in Nanaimo is available at low lease rates when compared with  communities of similar size in BC. Nanaimo lease rates are significantly lower when compared with Victoria or Vancouver for each class of commercial space.  

seniors' housing

The overall vacancy rate for standard space in senior’s residences homes in the Nanaimo region was 2.8% in 2016, compared to 7.5% in 2015.  Demand for seniors’ housing was mainly supported by a growing seniors’population, and a strong resale market which made it easier for seniors to sell their homes and move into independent living facilities.  Rising demand did not impact the average rents.

The 2016 vacancy rate for 1 bedroom, and 2 bedroom type was significantly lower compared to 2015, whereas Bachelor vacancy rate increased slightly. The largest vacancy rate drop was in the 2 bedroom type at 8.4 per cent, followed by 1 bedroom sapces which declined by 5.5 per cent.  Rents remained virtually the same across all space types.

Within the Province four regions, Lower mainland, Vancouver Island, Okanagan/Thompson/Shuswap and Other BC make up majority of the Senior’s housing accommodation.  Central Vancouver Island had the lowest vacancy rate of the three major centres that make up the region as more seniors moved to centres such as Nanaimo and Duncan/Cowichan, driven partly by lower rents compared to other parts of the island.
Independent living suites are found in seniors' complexes where the majority of the residents are aged 65 years or older, on-site meal services are provided, and the residents receive less than 1.5 hours of health care per day. In BC the overall average rent for an independent living space was $2,935 per month in 2016, up from $ 2,868 in 2015. In Nanaimo the rent remained virtually the same $2,477 for 2016 and $2,478 in 2015.   Seniors' housing vacancy rate for Nanaimo region has been dropping significantly over the past five year's i.e.  11% in 2013 compared to 2.8% in 2016.