No break for homebuyers with low supply, high demand in capital region

Greater Victoria’s real estate market continued its relentless pace in April, with prices remaining strong and inventory low.

Bidding wars are not uncommon and often end with a sale price that’s over the asking price.

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­­“We’ve seen an imbalance in our market for a quite a few months,” Victoria Real Estate Board president David Langlois said Monday. “Our market is based on supply and demand and there is a disconnect right now with record low supply and high demand.”

Desire for homes in specific markets can rise quickly, but it takes years to build new housing, he said. “These realities make it hard to bring our market into balance.”

The benchmark value for a single-family house in the core of Victoria reached $996,500 last month, up by 12.6 per cent from the same month in 2020, the board’s new monthly sales report shows.

Benchmarks measure the value of a home in a particular area over time, a method the real estate industry considers more reflective of the market than average prices.

Last month’s average price for a single-family house for sales through the real estate board was $1.139 million. That’s down from an average of $1.176 million in March.

The benchmark price for a condo in the core was $547,600 last month, up from $533,600 a year ago. The core consists of Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt, Oak Bay and View Royal.

Langlois cautioned against comparing April 2020 numbers to this year’s because of the impact of the pandemic’s arrival last year. Last month, a total of 1,116 properties changed hands through the board, up from just 287 in April 2020.

The total value of April’s sales for all types of property came to $980.9 million, falling below the record-setting $1-billion total set in March.

“In the most recent five years pre-pandemic, the average number of sales in the month of April was 896. April 2016 holds the record for sales with 1,286 properties sold,” Langlois said. Greater Victoria’s real estate market was red-hot in 2016.

There were 1,454 active listings at the end of April, up somewhat from the end of March, when there were 1,310 listings.

The five-year average for active listings was 2,596, Langlois said — more than 1,000 homes more than the current level.

For the area north of the Malahat, the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board said there was little relief for frustrated buyers in April, despite a slight uptick in active listings.

A total of 590 single-family houses sold last month, up from 567 the previous month.

As for condos, 133 units sold last month, slightly below the 136 sold in March.

“The pervasive lack of inventory has created a strong sellers’ market, and buyers face fierce competition in their home search. Multiple offers are the norm rather than the exception, and many homes are selling over the asking price,” the board said in a statement.

“It is no surprise that the heated housing market is impacting prices, which are rising throughout the board area.”

The benchmark price of a single-family home in the region was $659,300 last month, up by four per cent from March and 22 per cent higher than in April 2020.

For condos, the benchmark price was $345,200, a year-over-year increase of 14 per cent and four per cent higher than in March.

In Campbell River, the price of a single-family home was $588,800 in April, while in the Comox Valley it was $692,300.

Duncan came in with a benchmark of $596,300, and Nanaimo was at $683,000, while the Parksville-Qualicum area was at $743,400.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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