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Low inventory slows capital region home sales in November

Lack of available housing continues to dampen sales in the capital region’s real estate market. Inventory shrank last month to 1,815. That’s down by 38.
Real estate sale sign - photo
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Lack of available housing continues to dampen sales in the capital region’s real estate market.

Inventory shrank last month to 1,815. That’s down by 38.5 per cent from November 2015, the Victoria Real Estate board said in its monthly report released Thursday.

“Our current housing market is in a strong cycle due to many factors, including our current positive economic conditions, baby boomers retiring here, millennial buying cycles, a low Canadian dollar keeping folks closer to home, and our favourable living conditions,” real estate board president Mike Nugent said.

“These factors and others, in combination with low inventory, mean demand for housing is up, particularly in those areas close to the core and amenities.”

Sales were at 599 last month through the board’s multiple listing service. That was down from 735 in October, a slide of 18.5 per cent.

However, last month’s sales were up slightly compared with November of last year, which came in at 573.

Nugent acknowledged that foreign buyers are affecting the region’s housing market.

The province released information this week showing that 6.3 per cent of October sales in this region were to foreign purchasers, double the previous month.

B.C. imposed a foreign buyers tax of 15 per cent tax in August in Metro Vancouver, where those sales slid to three per cent in October from 13.2 per cent before the tax came into effect. There is no foreign buyers tax in the capital region,

“A much larger factor affecting affordability and availability right now is the lack of inventory,” Nugent said.

“An effective method to address housing affordability issues could be through efforts to increase the supply of housing, either through adjustments to zoning or density.”

House hunters are also having a tougher time finding a place to rent. The region’s rental vacancy rate has dipped to 0.5 per cent, from 0.6 per cent a year ago, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said last week.