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Real estate sales expected to climb in spring, but prices unlikely to rise

Greater Victoria’s housing market is likely in for a soft start in January, with the pace picking up in March, although prices are expected to remain stable.
Sold sign in front of a house on Catherine Street on Friday. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Greater Victoria home sales will likely climb as usual in spring, but prices are expected to be fairly stable, and could even dip slightly, says a local real estate agent commenting on Royal LePage’s latest quarterly housing report.

Neil Bosdet of Royal LePage said Friday that the first quarter of 2022 saw an unprecedented rise in prices, bringing bidding wars before tapering off.

While prices “went up crazily” in the early part of the year, that frenzy started to “stall out” as interest rates climbed, and the region saw some price depreciation, he said.

By year’s end, there was an overall year-over-year increase in prices, but not at the level seen in the spring.

In the final quarter of 2022, the median price of single-family houses and condominiums combined was slightly more than $1 million, up from $998,500 a year earlier. Median refers to the middle point within a range of numbers.

Bosdet said Greater Victoria’s housing market is likely in for a soft start in January, predicting the number of sales will pick up in March.

“We typically have a busier spring market and it doesn’t always mean price appreciation.”

Many people have been waiting to see what happens with interest rates because as rates rose last year, their buying power eroded. Potential buyers might also be hoping prices will decrease significantly.

“A lot of those people have been waiting on the sidelines,” said Bosdet, who expects minor decreases in prices.

In his B.C. housing analysis, also released Friday, Central 1 Credit’s housing market analyst Brian Yu said the median provincial home value is expected to decline by eight per cent this year.

Even so, home values will likely remain well above pre-pandemic levels, leading to low sales numbers.

Shock from past interest-rate hikes will continue to dampen the housing market this year and next, Yu said.

Mortage rates climbed from about 1.5 per cent for variable mortgages and 2.2 per cent for fixed-rate mortgages to more than five per cent.

Demand for housing may pick up if mortgage rates ease this year, home values drop and strong immigration continues, Yu said.

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