Number of homes sold falls for ninth straight month

Greater Victoria home sales have slid for the ninth consecutive month, compared to the same month in the previous year as the real estate market continues to go through an adjustment.

Last month saw 594 properties sold, a drop from the 736 sales in August 2017, the Victoria Real Estate Board announced Tuesday. August sales number were also below July’s 651 sales.

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“Prices in our market are quite flat right now, with a slow, long-term trend toward a more balanced market,” said Kyle Kerr, board president.

The number of listings has been “relatively static for months” after an increase in spring, he said.

In August, the benchmark price for a single-family house in the core (Victoria, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Saanich and View Royal) was $888,300, which was higher than the $830,800 in the same month in 2017. Last month’s price trailed July’s $888,700.

The picture is similar for condominiums. August’s benchmark price of $503,000 was higher than August of last year, at $453,900. But like single-family homes, last month’s price fell below July’s, which was $507,700.

Kerr said a plateau in listings includes more higher-value properties and fewer single-family houses priced at $750,000 or less. There were 2,519 properties for sale through the board at the end of August. The region’s real estate market has seen a decrease in the number of homes priced at $750,000 or less compared with 2017, Kerr said.

It used to be notable for a house to sell for $1 million or more in the capital region, but now it is common to see properties in that price category.

Assessed values have climbed, with condo assessments — announced in January — climbing by up to 35 per cent in the region, and single-family house prices moving by up to 25 per cent in urban areas.

Federal measures, including a stress test on mortgages, have changed buying power for many purchasers, Kerr said. “These new policies are having the desired effect of slowing the market, though it is likely that over time the market will normalize these changed conditions,” he said.

It is possible that the strong local economy and high employment rates could boost demand in the fall once people return from summer holidays, Kerr said.

“Fall numbers will be an interesting indicator of our year to come as we continue to track low home inventory in a changing marketplace.”

For Vancouver Island north of the Malahat, 467 single-family houses sold in August, versus 438 in July, and 540 in August of last year.

The benchmark price for a single-family house declined for the first time in 2018, to $505,800 in August, versus July’s $510,700, the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board said.

Don McClintock, Board president, said the market is becoming more balanced and there are fewer multiple offers coming in.

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