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More options for home buyers, but real estate sales have yet to pick up

There were 2,647 properties listed through the Victoria Real Estate Board as of the end of March, up by more than 34 per cent from 1,970 listings a year earlier, but sales have remained flat.
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Condo sales dropped by 10 per cent from March 2023 and single-family house sales rose by 1.8 per cent year-over-year. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

More potential buyers are ­viewing a greater selection of homes in Greater Victoria, but the traditional spring pickup in sales has yet to arrive.

There were 2,647 properties listed through the Victoria Real Estate Board as of the end of March, up by more than 34 per cent from 1,970 listings a year earlier.

“We have more inventory for consumers to consider when compared with recent years,” board chair Laurie Lidstone said Tuesday.

As people buy and move, more properties are added to the available inventory, which supports a much healthier market, she said.

“Supply really is key, and looking to the future we need to ensure that focus continues on the creation of new homes of all types and price points.”

The province is focusing on initiatives to increase supply of affordable homes throughout B.C. Programs have been introduced in recent months to change zoning rules to allow for more multi-plexes, to limit the number of homes rented to ­tourists and to set housing-creation targets for municipalities.

Home prices in the capital region continue to rise. Last month, the benchmark price for a condominium in Victoria’s core municipalities — Oak Bay, Saanich, Victoria, Esquimalt and View Royal — was $567,300, up from $549,000 in March of last year, and from $557,000 in ­February 2023.

The benchmark for a ­single-family house in the core reached $1,279,300 last month, up from the same month in 2023 at $1,258,300. Last month, the benchmark was $1,247,400.

A total of 588 properties of all types sold last month through the real estate board’s multiple listing service. The total value of sales was $581 million.

Although overall sales numbers were up by 25 per cent from February, they fell by 0.3 per cent from the 590 sales in March 2023.

Condo sales dropped by 10 per cent from March 2023 and single-family house sales rose by 1.8 per cent year-over-year.

Some market watchers think many buyers are in a holding pattern, hoping interest rates will decline later this year.

“We’ve concluded a rather quiet first quarter and are ­transitioning into the spring market,” Lidstone said.

Many real estate agents say there are more shoppers in the market but that hasn’t ­necessarily translated into sales numbers, she said.

“This may change as we move into what is historically the ­busiest market of the year.”

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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