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Pros and Cons of Moving to Parksville, BC

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Ballard Fine Homes
December 26, 2023
Families relax on a summer's day in Parksville, BC Canada

The beautiful seaside town of Parksville is known for its long, sandy beaches, vibrant community, and small-town feel. With a population of around 14 000, the quaint feel of Parksville can’t be beaten. But is this town the right fit for you? When moving to a new town or city, it’s always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons to help come to a better decision about relocating. We’ve listed some commonly asked questions and concerns about Parksville below.

First, where is Parksville, BC located?

You’ve probably heard of Vancouver, maybe you’ve heard of Vancouver Island, but Parksville? We don’t blame you, it’s one of BC’s best kept secrets.

To the west of Vancouver is a large island of Vancouver Island. The province’s capital city, Victoria, is located on the southernmost tip of the island. In comparison, Parksville is a small, seaside town farther north, in the central part of the island. Its beaches face east, across the Strait of Georgia towards the Lower Mainland.

Located centrally, it’s fairly easy to expand out to other nearby towns and cities by vehicle. Starting from Parksville, driving to other parts can be expected to take:
– 20 minutes to Nanaimo (contains an airport and ferry terminal)
– A little under an hour to Comox (contains an airport)
– 3.5 hours to Port Hardy (northern area of Vancouver Island)
– About 2.5 hours to Victoria
– Also 2.5 hours to Tofino/Ucluelet for surfing
– About 2 hours to Vancouver (that’s 20 minutes to Nanaimo, plus about a 1.5 hour ferry ride, give or take. Can be less if flying out from Nanaimo)


A map of Vancouver Island

Advantages & benefits of living in Parksville

Is Parksville the best place to retire on Vancouver Island?

A slower pace of life, beautiful natural scenery, and a slight bias towards an older demographic are key features for why Parksville is a great place to retire. The median age of a resident is 62 years old and this is accommodated by warm ocean waters for swimming, a vibrant seniors’ centre, and an assortment of year-round golf courses nearby.

For retirees seeking peace and beauty in the outdoors, Parksville’s mild climate and serene setting make it a haven. Long sandy beaches, verdant parks, and a tight-knit community that promotes a laid-back way of life are what make the town so charming. Away from the bustle of big cities, retirees frequently find comfort in a slower pace of life as long as they still have access to first-rate medical care and other necessities.

Qualicum Beach is about a ten-minute drive from Parksville and offers many of the same amenities plus a few more. Together, these towns are referred to as the Oceanside region. In terms of amenities, they contain options such as a health centre, grocery stores, fitness and aquatic centre, and several religious organizations. Retirees especially enjoy the impressive golf courses of Qualicum Beach.

The high number of recreational opportunities in the town is another draw for retirees. Parksville provides lots of options for staying active and involved, from golfing to beachcombing, fishing to nature walks. There’s always something to explore and take part in thanks to the thriving arts and culture scene and the numerous festivals and community events. Furthermore, convenience is offered without compromising the tranquil atmosphere thanks to Parksville’s close proximity to bigger cities like Nanaimo. Retirees can take advantage of the peace and quiet of their coastal retreat while having easy access to extra facilities, entertainment choices, and medical resources. Those that prefer big city living, are only a 15 minute or so drive away from ferries and an airport to Vancouver from Nanaimo.

Parksville weather: mild climate, enjoy nature year-round

Parksville’s moderate coastal climate is one of the main reasons it’s a desirable place to live, especially for people looking for a more temperate environment. It benefits from the same mild, temperate climate as the rest of Vancouver Island. Winters are generally mild and bring a small amount of snow each year. Summers are comfortably warm with rare instances of heat waves.
Temperatures range between 3 and 22 degrees Celsius on average, making it very comfortable to go for a walk or take a dip in the ocean. As it is a waterfront town, a small breeze usually comes in with the waves. View Parksville’s weather forecast and have a look for yourself.

Residents enjoy a respite from the harsher winter conditions that are frequently encountered in other regions. Small amounts of snow accumulate each year, but it is nothing compared to the storms on the east coast of Canada. On the other end of the year, summers are pleasant and comfortable for outdoor activities because they are not overly hot. A very hot day reaches about 30-35 degrees celsius, but isn’t generally the norm.

Chairs around a fire pit facing the beach on Vancouver Island.

Community and lifestyle in Parksville: embracing tranquil living

Parksville flourishes as a community-focused sanctuary that promotes a unique way of life. The town has a cosy atmosphere where relationships between neighbours are encouraged.

It’s strong community ties, which are fostered by residents’ frequent participation in a range of group activities, are one reason why it is so special. The town’s noticeably slower pace appeals to those looking for a calm and welcoming atmosphere because it invites a laid-back way of life.

The close-knit community spirit is enhanced by neighbourhood projects, gatherings, and volunteer opportunities that promote involvement and foster a sense of togetherness among the locals. The tranquillity of the coast and the coziness of a tightly knit community are valued by the locals, who frequently adopt this distinctive way of life, making it a pleasant place to call home.

Parksville real estate – waterfront and waterview homes a’plenty

Parksville, which is renowned for its breathtaking coastal scenery and tranquil way of life, has a wide variety of real estate choices that will appeal to different types of buyers. A variety of property types are available in the town’s real estate market, ranging from waterfront estates to single-family homes with large lots to more condensed living options like townhouses and condominiums. Property values frequently take into account elements like the property’s size, amenities, town location, and proximity to the ocean.

If you are dreaming of a waterfront home, where you are mere steps away from sandy beaches and warm ocean water, you’ve found the right place. Parksville is filled mainly with two to three-bedroom, single-family homes that are either on the beach or within walking distance of it. A small number of townhouses and condos are also found, notably a few newer buildings near the waterfront in downtown Parksville.

If you are more interested in acreage, then you will want to look inland. Moving in the direction of Coombs and Hilliers will open more opportunities for hobby farms and similar properties.

Compared to Vancouver, real estate listings in Parksville are relatively more affordable. While some homes are older, custom renovations are fairly popular. Another option that has been growing in popularity is building a custom home. It’s a perfect marriage between an ideal location and a home built based on the homeowner’s lifestyle.

The real estate market in Parksville showed indications of strength and desirability as of the most recent update in early 2022. Properties were consistently in demand because of the town’s natural scenic charm and reputation as a retirement destination. We saw a balanced or seller’s market depending on the circumstances, with competitive situations emerging for desired properties like those with views of the ocean or close to parks and beaches.

One of Ballard Fine Homes' show homes, view from the living room.

Price trends in Parksville’s real estate market

Parksville’s real estate market has shown some notable swings, sometimes favouring sellers, especially for homes with desirable features like easy access to the town’s natural attractions or views of the ocean.

Property values in Parksville have fluctuated up until the start of 2022 due to a number of important factors. The main factors influencing the cost of homes in this peaceful seaside community are their proximity to the shore, their size, the amenities they offer, and their exact location within the town. Desirable properties frequently saw competitive bidding scenarios, which was indicative of the town’s appeal as a popular retirement and vacation destination.

All over Vancouver Island, housing prices have gone up. Currently, Parksville is on the higher end of real estate prices, with the average home selling for $861,000. Compared to nearby communities of Comox, Port Alberni, and the Cowichan Valley, Parksville is priced the highest. Condos and townhouses are also coming in at around $642,000.

Custom home options make Parksville more affordable

As prices increase, buyers are finding themselves frustrated more often because they feel they should be getting more value out of their budget. At Ballard Fine Homes, we have a perfect solution: a custom-built home.

With a custom-built home, you are more in control of where your money is going. Instead of compromising with someone else’s design that you’re probably going to change anyways, building from scratch allows you to design your home exactly the way you want it. This can save you from purchasing a home that will immediately require a costly renovation. In addition, you can decide how luxurious or humble you’d like your home to be designed.

Larger properties, such as acreages or farms, can also directly benefit from a custom home for functionality. Creating a home that fits your lifestyle isn’t reserved just for suburban life. An attached greenhouse, multiple car garage, and dedicated grow/canning room are a few ideas that can be brought into suburban homes, too.

With other home builders, this process can seem overwhelming and too much to handle, but we are not like other home builders. We want you to enjoy the process, stress-free. Our in-person showroom in Parksville has many samples of materials and finishes that you can put in your home. You are invited to browse the showroom and talk to our staff about our previous builds, to both gain inspiration and insight on the building process.

Fresh air and a clean town

Are you looking to get away from the city smog? The air in Parksville is fantastic due to the ocean breezes and plentiful amount of trees and forests. The water tastes great, too. An overall low level of pollution puts Parksville high on the environmentally-friendly scale.

Those seeking a healthier lifestyle will appreciate the cleanliness of the town, the freshness of the city, and the lack of wear and tear on the overall environment. If you or a family member suffers from a breathing problem such as asthma or COPD, then you may find the environment in Parksville will benefit your health.

Considerations about Parksville

Parksville jobs

As a small town, there is a limited number of businesses and job opportunities. Some people choose to live in beautiful Parksville and commute to work in nearby Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, or Port Alberni.

The unemployment rate may look startling to some, but it’s important to keep in mind that Parksville is a preferred place to retire so that will heavily affect any statistics regarding employment. Of the available jobs, working in retail and health care provide the bulk of the workforce. In addition, many remote positions have opened up in recent years due to the pandemic, making Parksville an ideal location for your home office. Where else can you leave work and head straight to the beach?

The town’s economy thrives on small businesses, retail, healthcare, and tourism. Seasonal positions in accommodations, dining, and leisure activities by the coast are available, particularly during the summer tourist influx.

Healthcare services provide substantial job opportunities in clinics, retirement communities, and related facilities. Retail positions in local stores, service sectors, and specific professional services also cater to the town’s needs.

However, for specialized or high-skilled roles, neighbouring cities like Nanaimo offer more options. Commuting to Nanaimo, around a 20-minute drive away, can grant access to a broader job market, including various industries, larger companies, educational institutions, and government offices.

Things to do in Parksville

In terms of things to do similar to larger cities like Vancouver, you can think of Parksville as containing some of those things on a smaller scale, but with the addition of outdoor recreation at your doorstep.

While you won’t find a large venue for concerts or NHL games, you will find the beautiful Rathtrevor Provincial Park, mini golf, various golf courses, restaurants, local businesses like cheese shops and breweries, and endless opportunities for embracing nature.

The long tides mean the sandy beaches have ample time to warm up in the sunshine, which causes the incoming waves to get a little bit warmer and more comfortable for swimming. Families enjoy Parksville beaches for swimming, building sand castles, and relaxing on a warm summer day. Adults enjoy creating sand castles, too. An annual competition at the Parksville Beach Festival involves a sand sculpting competition that is a must-see. These gorgeous works of art are on display for a few weeks until the elements wear them away.

Visitors can also indulge in classic beach activities like building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, and flying kites along the well-known sandy beaches. Several beaches provide opportunities for beachcombing, birdwatching, and exploring tidal pools. Nearby, Englishman River Falls Provincial Park boasts scenic hiking trails and stunning waterfalls, ideal for hiking, biking, and horseback riding enthusiasts.

For wildlife enthusiasts, the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre highlights the island’s abundant biodiversity for those who enjoy animals. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy scenic rounds at Fairwinds Golf Club or Morningstar Golf Club. Paradise Fun Park offers family-friendly entertainment options like mini-golf and go-karting.

If you are seeking family-friendly activities, outdoor adventures, cultural exploration, or simply beach relaxation, Parksville promises a diverse and fulfilling experience for all.

There’s also a large variety of things to do in Nanaimo if you are able to make the 20 minute or so drive.

Community services in Parksville

Parksville places a high priority on social well-being by offering a variety of assistance programs. These services, which are frequently provided by nonprofits and community organizations, are meant to help people and families who are dealing with different kinds of problems.

The town also prioritizes senior citizens, offering special centres and programs that support social interaction, health education, and leisure activities. These support networks help a variety of demographics, such as parents, caregivers, and individuals in need of guidance. By volunteering, residents actively participate in neighbourhood projects and philanthropic causes, fostering stronger ties between neighbours.

Parksville is also dedicated to providing its youth with programs and resources that are specifically designed to support their academic and recreational goals. Not only do these facilities cater to the needs of young people, but they also enhance the general liveliness of the community. Parksville is the perfect example of a community committed to working together, diversity, and the overall well-being of its residents thanks to these extensive support networks.

Public transportation

Do you have a driver’s license? While you may have gotten away without one on the Lower Mainland, you’ll likely need it in Parksville.

Parksville’s public transportation network, while not as extensive as in larger cities, remains a crucial means of connectivity within the town and to neighbouring Vancouver Island areas. Operated by regional transit authorities, buses follow regular routes linking essential spots in Parksville and nearby towns like Qualicum Beach and Nanaimo.

Many shops and amenities are within walking distance and there is a local bus that gets the job done. However, having your own wheels will come in handy for places like Rathtrevor Beach, travelling to nearby towns, or any other local area that isn’t serviced by the city bus.

Parksville does not have numerous bus routes and a SkyTrain system for users to get around. Some private companies offer bus service to other parts of Vancouver Island, but this can be a costly option if you need to commute regularly.

The perk to this situation is that traffic in Parksville is virtually non-existent. Gone are the days of finding yourself crawling along the highway just to get to work or home. If you want stress-free driving, then you should consider Parksville.

Emergency health care is limited

While most health concerns can be addressed by the local health centre, the nearest hospitals are in Nanaimo and Port Alberni. Granted, it does take about 30 minutes by vehicle to drive to either location (with favourable traffic conditions) but that can make some people nervous. If you are the type of person that wants a hospital in your hometown, then Parksville might be a little too small for your needs.

In general, most residents are highly satisfied with the healthcare situation in Parksville. Staff competency, equipment standards, friendliness of healthcare staff, and speed in completing examinations are all reported with more than satisfactory ratings. Specialized care may require visiting neighbouring larger cities for services, but Parksville’s medical facilities are a dependable resource for the community’s general medical needs.

However, Vancouver Island is running a little short on available family doctors. While you will be able to see a physician during a visit to a walk-in clinic, finding a family doctor may take a while. This problem is not unique to Parksville, but it is worth planning ahead if you do decide to relocate.

Ready to dive into Parksville’s real estate market?

At Ballard Fine Homes, we personally believe Parksville is one of the best places to live on Vancouver Island. As a custom home-building company, we have built homes all over the Oceanside region and can’t speak highly enough about the benefits of owning a home in Parksville. We are passionate about building beautiful homes on Vancouver Island that our clients love.

For more elaborate builds, we offer an extensive selection of high-end finishes and designs for that professional touch. Smaller renovation jobs are also welcome, including any questions you may have about our process. If you are looking to renovate or build your own custom home, we would love to get in touch with you to make that a reality.

With an exceptional attention to detail, we provide a broad selection of premium finishes and sophisticated designs made specifically for luxurious home builds. We look forward to working with you to make your dreams come true. Take the first step toward realizing your real estate dreams by reaching out to us today.