Condo, townhouse sales surge in Greater Victoria

Condominiums and townhomes that have been built at a near-record pace over the last several years have likely fueled the flurry of condo purchases seen this fall.

According to numbers released Tuesday by the Victoria Real Estate Board, there was a 48 per cent increase in the number of condos that changed hands last month compared with September 2018, while townhome sales increased by 27 per cent.

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“It may be too early to call this a trend toward condo purchases, but this is a number to watch through the fall to see if buyers continue opting for condos and townhomes as more new developments are added to the market in highly desirable locations,” said real estate board president Cheryl Woolley.

Last month, there were 616 total sales in the region, down from 633 in August, but a 15 per cent improvement over the 533 sales last September.

Of those sales last month, 221 were condo sales and 76 were townhomes.

That should come as no surprise given in 2018 there were 4,273 homes started and 3,069 of them were multi-family units. And construction crews continue to build them. There are currently more than 4,000 multi-family units under construction in the region, with 1,405 started so far this year.

The popularity of multi-family units such as condominiums is often down to their affordability, which remains well below the benchmark price of single-family homes in the region.

The benchmark price of a single-family home last month was $751,300, up slightly from August’s $748,500, but off last year’s $758,100 according to the real estate board’s latest figures.

The benchmark price for a condo in September was $501,000, down from $506,100 in August, but a slight improvement from September 2018 when it was $494,800.

The benchmark price for a townhome was $594,300 last month, down from $598,800 in August, but an improvement over $591,200 last September.

“September’s statistics clearly demonstrate that Victoria continues to have a stable real estate sector and is a desirable place to live,” said Woolley. “While sales are up compared to the same month last year, our inventory remains low, which may create challenges for people trying to get into the market in certain categories.”

At the end of September, there were 2,823 active listings for sale in the region, a 6.7 per cent increase from the 2,646 active listings for sale at the end of September 2018.

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