First-time homebuyers on Island relied on family: report

All first-time Vancouver Island home-buyers who used notaries in 2019 relied on their families for help with down payments, says the B.C. Notaries Association.

That’s an increase from 70 per cent in 2015 and 90 per cent last year, the association said in its annual year-end real estate report, released Monday.

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The findings are based on a December survey of 193 notaries in B.C., including 21 on Vancouver Island. Notaries carry out the conveyancing — handling documents relating to property transfers — and other services in more than half of all residential real estate transactions in B.C., the association said.

On the Island, 58 per cent of notaries said home prices are an issue in their communities, citing increased mortgage restrictions, rising interest rates and lack of supply as the top three factors, the report said.

Greater Victoria is traditionally one of the stronger real estate markets in Canada, even as federal and provincial measures have dampened some sales. Inventory continues to be tight in the region.

The benchmark value for a single-family home in the capital region’s core was $855,400 last month, while the benchmark for a condo in the core was $517,000, slightly up from the October value of $511,600, according to the Victoria Real Estate Board. A benchmark refers to the value of a typical home in a particular area. The core refers to Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt and View Royal.

Notaries reported seeing increased activity and sales in the second half of the year throughout B.C. after a quieter market in 2018 and the early part of this year, the report said.

Daniel Boisvert, president of the notaries association, urged buyers to line up a pre-approved mortgage prior to shopping for a home. He said buyers should remember that there are other costs in addition to the purchase price, such as legal and inspection fees, property taxes, and renovation and moving costs.

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