Greater Victoria set real-estate sales record in 2016

Greater Victoria’s real estate market reached a record number of sales in 2016 as prices climbed year-over-year.

Intense competition reigned in some transactions where frantic buyers determined to secure a house bid above asking prices, sometimes by more than $100,000.

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Mike Nugent, past president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, predicts sales will remain strong this year, but not at the level of 2016 because of tight inventory.

“You can’t sell something that isn’t there,” Nugent said Tuesday. “There is certainly an ongoing demand for properties.”

By year’s end, there were just 1,493 listings with the board. That’s down by 41 per cent from 2,517 a year earlier.

A total of 10,622 properties changed hands in the capital region’s hot market in 2016, the Victoria Real Estate Board said Tuesday. That beats the previous high of 9,241 set in 1991.

Prices surged in Greater Victoria last year, one of the country’s priciest markets.

The benchmark value for a single-family house in the Victoria core climbed to $758,500 last month, a leap of 23.6 per cent from $613,600 in December 2015.

Last month, a total of 471 properties sold through the board, up by 1.3 per cent from 465 sold in December 2015, the board said.

Among properties that sold last month, 25 per cent were sold for higher than the asking price, Nugent said. Most were in the range of up to $750,000, meaning, “your average buyer will face a competitive market.”

The capital region’s real estate market has changed dramatically in just a few years.

For example, buyers had a lot more choice in December 2013, when there were 3,554 properties for sale.

At that time, the real estate watchers heading into 2014 were looking at a market where single-family house prices slid by 3.2 per cent in the previous year. Sales were far lower as well, ending 2013 at 5,998.

In December 2016, the value of all sales, including residential, commercial and acreage, totalled $281.4 million. Residential sales alone represented the bulk of the value, at $250.49 million.

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