Low inventory, consistent demand keeps Greater Victoria real estate prices climbing

Greater Victoria’s fall real estate market is starting to look remarkably similar to last year, according to numbers released Friday by the Victoria Real Estate Board.

There were 619 sales last month, a slight increase from the 616 in September and a 3.5 per cent improvement from October last year.

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At the same time, the median sale price of a single-family home in the core of the region — which includes Victoria, Vic West, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, View Royal and Saanich — increased slightly last month to $857,700 up from $846,500 in September, but down from the $878,900 price set in October last year.

Compared to five years ago, however, the only similarity is the total number of sales. In October 2014, there were 602 sales, but at that time the median sale price of a single-family home in the core was $553,900.

The biggest difference appears to be the choice available. In the fall of 2014, there were about 4,000 active listings. As of the end of October this year, there were 2,643. That was a 6.4 per cent drop compared to September, but a 5.3 per cent increase from the 2,510 active listings for sale at the end of October 2018.

“There has been a slight increase in our inventory from October last year,” Cheryl Woolley, president of the real estate board, said in a statement. “The current inventory is likely not enough for home buyers to feel they have a lot more to choose from, which in turn puts pressure on pricing for homes in desirable locations and price points. It’s not uncommon to see multiple offers in many of our market segments.”

And that means higher selling prices.

The benchmark price for a single-family home in the whole region was $756,300, up from $751,300 in September and down slightly from $757,400 last October. Condo prices in the region remained stable at $500,300 compared with $494,800 last year, and townhomes dropped slightly to $587,200 from $593,100 last October.

“This month’s overall numbers are very similar to the numbers we saw last year,” said Woolley. “It’s interesting that last month we saw a large uptick in condo sales, but this month is fairly flat when compared to last year. This shows that we are not yet seeing a trend in property types.”

In September, there were 221 condo sales, compared with 178 sold in October.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board — covering all other areas of the Island north of the Malahat — said sales of single-family homes in October dropped by 11 per cent from the same month in 2018 and were virtually the same as this past September. Condo and townhouse sales dipped by nine per cent and 22 per cent, respectively.

Last month, 343 single-family homes sold on the MLS, compared to 345 the previous month and 384 in October 2018. In the condo category, 88 units sold last month, while 42 townhouses changed hands.

Inventory of single-family homes in October rose by 14 per cent from one year ago (1,173 to 1,333). Active listings of apartments increased by 16 per cent (322 to 373) year over year while townhouse inventory dropped by 21 per cent (167 to 132).

The benchmark price of a single-family home board-wide was $521,800 in October, a four per cent increase from one year ago and down slightly from September. In the condo category, the year-over-year benchmark price rose by three per cent, climbing to $300,200 and marginally higher than in September. The benchmark price of a townhouse rose by one per cent year over year, hitting $402,300 last month, which was two per cent lower than in September.

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