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Greater Victoria home sales dip as inventory dries up, prices rise

There were 745 sales in the region in October, down from the 990 homes in the same month last year
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With inventory dwindling, leaving just over 1,000 properties on the market, Greater Victoria home sales cooled off a little in October, while demand ensured prices continued to rise, according to sales results released Monday by the Victoria Real Estate Board.

Last month, there were 745 sales in the region, down from the 990 homes sold at the same time last year and a slight dip from the 761 sold in September.

The number of homes on the market is half what it was at the same time last year. At the end of October, there were 1,036 available properties on the board’s multiple listings service, compared to 2,122 the previous year.

Board president David Langlois said the average number of properties for sale in the month of October in the past 10 years was 3,210. “We are one third of that this year. We continue to see record-breaking low levels of homes for sale and with continuing competition for homes, we see pricing pressure persist.”

The benchmark value for a single-family home in the region was $1.02 million in October, up from $1.01 million in September and a big jump from the $805,100 in October last year.

The benchmark price of a condo in Greater Victoria was $548,000 last month, up from $542,700 in September and $476,900 in October last year.

Townhome prices also jumped to $741,400 last month from $725,600 in September, and $599,000 in October 2020.

Langlois said the only solution to the current market is to create more supply, something that requires a commitment to build in coming years. “That takes co-operation. It takes public acceptance of increased density in some areas, the ability for builders to staff and supply their developments and for investors to be able to make their plans a reality within a reasonable timeline and at a reasonable cost.”

Langlois also suggested municipalities must continue to focus on densification. “Thoughtful densification will allow us to protect our green space, leverage existing infrastructure and take advantage of existing amenities,” he said.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, which oversees the market north of the Malahat, reported a similar historically low inventory that’s creating frustrating hurdles for buyers.

Last month, 398 single-family homes sold, a 23 per cent drop from a year ago. There were also 122 condo sales last month, a six per cent decrease from October 2020.

Active listings of single-family homes were 46 per cent lower last month than in October 2020, while the inventory of condo apartments declined by 63 per cent from that same period a year ago.

Board president Ian Mackay said he doesn’t expect to see an improvement unless demand drops significantly or more inventory comes online through new construction.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board’s benchmark price of a single-family home reached $757,300 in October, up 31 per cent year over year. In the condo category, the benchmark price hit $397,200 last month, a 30 per cent increase from October 2020.

aduffy@timescolonist.com