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Greater Victoria real estate market cools, but prices rise in September

Victoria’s real estate market appears to be heading toward balance, according to figures released Monday by the Victoria Real Estate Board.
Graphic - September real estate report
September 2017 Greater Victoria real estate summary

 

Victoria’s real estate market appears to be heading toward balance, according to figures released Monday by the Victoria Real Estate Board.

After more than a year of high prices, multiple offers and would-be homebuyers having to move quickly lest they lose the chance at their next home, the pace of sales has slowed compared with last fall.

There were 640 properties sold last month, an 18 per cent drop from the 781 sold in September 2016. Year to date, there have been 7,147 sales worth $4.6 billion. At this time last year, there had been 8,817 sales worth $5 billion.

“We can certainly feel the difference in the current market when we compare to last year’s record-breaking numbers,” said Ara Balabanian, president of the VREB.

Balabanian said the market has seen overall price increases level out, which can indicate slightly less demand. At the same time, inventory levels have been increasing.

There were 1,976 active listings for sale at the end of September, an increase of 3.1 per cent compared with August. Since inventory levels bottomed out in December 2016 when they hit below 1,500, they have increased slightly or remained flat each month until now.

Prices, however, remain on the rise. According to the VREB, the benchmark value for a single-family home in the Victoria core last month was $823,100. Last September, it was $742,200.

“Simply because we’ve seen sales drop from last year is not dire or unexpected news for our local real estate market,” Balabanian said. “The 10-year average for sales in September is 573 properties — and the month exceeded that average by more than 10 per cent.”

It also remains a seller’s market. According to the VREB, the sales-to-listings ratio, which is basically a supply-demand ratio, is about 40 per cent. It peaked at 80 per cent in March of this year. Anything above 20 per cent suggests a seller’s market, in which demand outstrips supply.