Greater Victoria home prices hit record levels last month as demand stayed strong and inventory remained tight.
Benchmark price for a single-family house in Greater Victoria reached $710,500 in February, up by 10.6 per cent from the same month a year ago.
Benchmark price for a single-family house in the core area — which includes Victoria, Oak Bay, Saanich, View Royal and Esquimalt — was higher, at $840,300. That’s an increase of nine per cent from February 2017.
The Victoria Real Estate Board uses benchmark price an indicator of cost for a typical house in a particular area.
Condominium prices also set a record, with the benchmark price in the region at $463,100, up 20.3 per cent from a year earlier.
Climbing prices are good news for sellers, but first-time buyers are increasingly turning to the condo market as a way to afford a home.
B.C. Finance Minister Carole James unveiled a new budget last month filled with measures aimed at opening the housing market to more people. The government vowed to help build 114,000 units and to spend $7 billion on new housing over the next 10 years. But real estate representatives cautioned that the market can be slow to change.
Last month, the lowest benchmark value in the capital region for a single-family home was in the West Shore at $605,100. Lower land values and developers building on smaller lots have fuelled strong construction in the West Shore, especially in Langford.
A total of 545 properties sold through the Multiple Listing Service of the Victoria Real Estate Board last month. That’s down from 675 in February 2017.
Buyers face hurdles, said Kyle Kerr, Victoria board president. “They’re in a market that has experienced long-term low inventory which means more price pressure and competition on homes.”
A total of 1,545 properties were for sale last month, up slightly from February of last year with an inventory of 1,537.
Demand is outpacing supply, he said. He called on the province to work with municipalities to reduce the time it takes to add new housing.
The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, which covers the area north of the Malahat, said buyer demand and limited supply have created a sellers’ market. Multiple offers are common, especially for properties between $400,000 and $500,000.
A total of 316 single-family homes sold through that board last month, slightly below the 345 sold a year earlier. However, the number of condos sold climbed by 28 per cent. Benchmark price for a single-family home in the region was $483,400, an increase of 19 per cent from a year ago. Benchmark price for a condo was $293,900, a boost of 29 per cent year-over-year.