Greater Victoria real estate sales fall as prices climb

It’s been a slow start to the traditionally busy spring real estate season — but the homes that are selling are going for higher prices, according to the latest data from the Victoria Real Estate Board.

There were 774 properties sold in the region during April — down about 13 per cent from 885 sold in the same month a year ago. Condominium sales hit 225, down 22 per cent from last April, while the 376 sales of single family homes were down eight per cent down from a year earlier.

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The Multiple Listing Service benchmark value for a single-family home in the core area — which includes Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt and View Royal — was $866,700. That has increased by nearly nine per cent since last April when the benchmark was $800,100. It was also higher than the March value of $859,400.

The benchmark value for a condominium in the core area rocketed to $495,100, a 19 per cent increase from April 2017 and more than $5,000 higher than this past March.

The board uses benchmark price as an indicator of cost for a typical house in a particular area.

“We’re now into the spring real estate market, which is traditionally the busiest time of the year for buying and selling homes,” Victoria Real Estate Board president Kyle Kerr said in a statement.

“Last year, the months of May and June were the busiest, so we may see this pattern again, but on a slightly smaller scale than last year, since our sales for the year thus far are down 18 per cent when compared with 2017. Although January to March was quite far behind last year’s pace, we may see that margin get smaller as we progress through the spring months and people adjust to the new mortgage qualifying rules.”

There were a total of 2,002 active listings for sale at the end of April, an increase of 13.4 per cent compared with the month of March and 18.5 per cent more than the 1,690 active listings for sale at the end of April 2017.

“We continue to see low inventory in our market, and good homes in desirable locations are still seeing multiple bids,” said Kerr. “One interesting development we are tracking is the increase of prices in a market of fewer sales. Part of the reason for this is that there is strong pressure on lower-priced properties.

“After the new mortgage-rule changes this year, many consumers have seen a reduction in their buying power, so more are competing for lower-priced properties and in multiple offer situations, pricing is pushed up. Our area just doesn’t have the supply or mix of homes needed to meet the demand. We are working with government at all levels to identify ways to meet this demand in the CRD.”

Meanwhile, sales of single-family homes in the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board area rose by 20 per cent month over month in April, but remains “static” from one year ago.

Last month, 476 single-family homes sold compared with 398 in March and 476 a year ago. The number of condos changing hands in April fell by six per cent year over year while townhouse sales rose by 26 per cent.

The board’s inventory of single-family homes climbed by eight per cent from March, but decreased by six per cent from a year ago. The supply of condos dropped in April, down 12 per cent from one year ago, but townhouse inventory rose by 30 per cent.

During April, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the board’s area reached $499,600, up 18 per cent from a year ago. The price of a condo last month rose to $305,300, up 25 per cent. from the previous year, while the price of a townhouse hit $393,200, a 22 per cent increase from last year.

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