Vancouver spillover makes Island next hot real estate spot: report

Greater Vancouver real estate agents specializing in luxury properties swooped into Victoria via a chartered helicopter Wednesday for wine, dining, golf and a serious push on selling a $4.8-million estate near Elk Lake.

The day-long event was staged on the same day Central 1 Credit Union proclaimed Vancouver Island as “B.C.’s new housing hot spot.” The credit union’s economists predict median home prices on the Island will climb by 10 per cent this year, a further five per cent in 2017 and 2.5 per cent in 2018.

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Alex Burns of VictoriaRealEstate.com brought over 11 real estate agents whose clients include Asian and Iranian buyers, and one potential purchaser from Vancouver. They were shuttled to the property at 588 Brookleigh Rd. for a tour and gourmet lunch. The seven-acre property features a 7,800-square-foot home with six bedrooms, pool, guest cottage, barn and extensive landscaped grounds.

“We had some local high-net-worth people come to the house today as well,” Burns said Wednesday afternoon at Bear Mountain, where his guests played golf and took part in wine tastings.

It is not unusual to market luxury listings this way, Burns said. “This has been done in New York and Los Angeles for many years.”

Agents such as Burns are using creative strategies to get the word out about luxury listings, many of which are found throughout the capital region, including Oak Bay and the Saanich Peninsula. In Greater Victoria, more than 20 properties are priced at $4 million and above. More than half are on the Peninsula. The highest priced home is on Swanwick Road in Metchosin, where a contemporary styled house with an internal river is offered at $28.888 million.

Greater Victoria’s hot residential real estate market is driven largely by condominiums and houses not classified as luxury. Even so, the region’s properties are among the priciest in the country. The benchmark price for a typical single family house in Victoria’s core area was $741,000 in July, up from $599,800 the year before.

B.C. housing prices are predicted to continue rising into 2018, Brian Yu, senior economist for Central 1 Credit Union, said in a housing report released Wednesday.

The new foreign buyer tax imposed in Greater Vancouver will reduce sales into next year, possibly by 10 per cent, the report said. But B.C.’s economic growth, a surge of new residents and low interest rates are all underpinning the market’s strength, according to Yu.

Despite a lack of inventory that has slowed sales, Vancouver Island’s sales of existing homes are predicted to climb by more than 20 per cent this year, led by the capital region, Yu said. Higher sales are expected through 2018 because of higher employment, especially in Victoria, where there is strong tourism, population growth and waves of property owners from Vancouver cashing out to buy here.

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