Victoria real estate on the rise, up-Island sales dip

Victoria’s real estate market remains healthy and busy, according to the Victoria Real Estate Board’s monthly activity report released Tuesday.

Data released by the board show 609 properties were sold in the region in August, a 13 per cent increase over August of last year, while year-to-date numbers show 4,677 units sold through eight months of 2014, an 11 per cent increase over the 4,232 sold during the same time last year.

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August’s numbers did dip compared with July this year, when there were 681 total sales.

“When July numbers came in higher than we expected based on the past five years of sales activity, I think a lot of people were surprised. But sure enough, the market outperformed last year’s sales again in August and we’ve had the busiest August we’ve seen in five years,” said board president Tim Ayres.

The benchmark price for a single-family home in the Victoria core area last month was $491,500, an increase of just under one per cent from August 2013. That was down slightly from $497,800 in July of this year.

The benchmark price is used by the board, as it is seen as a more accurate reflection of the market than an average or median sale price, because it tracks price levels for a typical home in a given community.

The benchmark price of a typical condo in the region increased slightly to $290,300 from $287,500 in July. The benchmark price for townhomes was $406,400 in August, up from $401,200 in July.

“We’ve seen balanced market conditions for six months now. This means we’re not in a buyer’s or a seller’s market, but in an extended term of stable prices due to the ratio of available property for sale to the amount of sales. It’s a great place for sellers and buyers,” said Ayres.

But it seems buyers are starting to snap up more homes, as at the end of August there were 4,316 active listings, down from 4,570 in July and below the 4,593 available in August last year.

Meanwhile, real estate sales on Vancouver Island north of the Malahat took a dip in August.

According to data released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, 361 single-family homes were sold in August compared to 454 In July.

Board officials noted  stronger than anticipated sales activity in July, and August’s dip was not unexpected, as sales are generally slower in the summer months.

President elect Jason Finlayson was encouraged by the strong summer showing. “August 2014 sales remained strong in the Vancouver Island housing market area, continuing to reflect a balanced market,” he noted. “Most Realtors had busy summers and we expect that trend to continue into the fall.”

In August, the benchmark price for a single-family home in the board’s coverage area was $315,500, with a home price index value of 148.3. (This represents a 48.3 per cent increase since January 2005, when the index was 100). The average price of a single-family home in the region was $339,547, unchanged from August 2013.

B.C. Real Estate Association economist Cameron Muir said while improved economic conditions are expected and welcomed, he noted “we may see slightly higher mortgage rates by the end of the year, as a result.”

• Vancouver Island’s benchmark price for a single-family home was $315,500 in August, an increase of 0.61 per cent over last year.

• The benchmark price for a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $266,800, up 2.55 per cent over this time last year

• In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $325,400, an increase of 1.03 per cent over last year

• Duncan reports a benchmark price of $277,300, down 3.70 per cent compared to last year

• Nanaimo’s benchmark price was $331,400, up slightly by 0.61 per cent from last year

• Parksville/Qualicum has a benchmark price of $359,900, up 2.97 per cent over last year

• The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni is listed at $195,100, down 0.59 per cent from last year.
aduffy@timescolonist.com

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