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Real estate sales take tumble in July

With families heading for the lakes or on summer road trips, real estate activity took its annual nose dive in July with total sales activity falling more than 21 per cent compared with June.

With families heading for the lakes or on summer road trips, real estate activity took its annual nose dive in July with total sales activity falling more than 21 per cent compared with June.

There were 523 total sales in Greater Victoria last month compared with 637 in June, though there were also 523 registered sales in July 2011.

"It happens most years. June tends to be a pretty busy month with families wanting to relocate and get their kids moved prior to school, but July is dead - open houses are quiet, sales are quiet," said Carol Crabb, president of the Victoria Real Estate Board.

She said activity tends to pick up again toward the end of August.

According to the board, the average selling price for a single family home in Greater Victoria last month was $580,563, basically unchanged from June, but up from July 2011 when it was $574,717. The median price last month was $530,000, up from $520,000 in June of this year and basically the same as July 2011.

The average selling price for a condominium last month was $326,833, up from $316,569 in June and $315,371 last July. The median price last month was $278,000, up from $266,750 in June but down from $289,000 in July 2011.

The average selling price for a townhome last month was $379,569, down from $441,883 in June and $412,178 last July. The median price last month was $355,000, down from $392,800 in June and $385,000 in July 2011.

Crabb said the market remains "steady" saying good properties priced well are selling. However, she said high inventory levels - there are 5,178 active listings - combined with tighter mortgage rules and mediocre economic performance could lead to a stagnant market and perhaps lower home prices.

"It could be, but it depends why people are selling and how badly they need to sell," she said. "If they really need to sell and it's not going, it will probably push the price down."

She said the high inventory levels are fairly typical, and the current level remains below the historic high of 5,400 listings hit two years ago.

"Five thousand is typical inventory until Christmas and then it's around 4,000," Crabb said.