Single-family home prices hit new high in capital region’s core

The price for a single-family home in the capital region’s core area reached a new high last month.

The benchmark price in an area that includes Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt and View Royal moved to $859,400 during March, up from $840,300 in February.

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Prices climbed as the provincial government announced new taxes to try to make homes more affordable. The full impact of the measures will be felt next year and as homeowners understand how they will be applied.

The board uses benchmark price as an indicator of cost for a typical house in a particular area.

A total of 688 properties sold through the Victoria Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service in March. That’s below the 929 sold in March last year, but higher than the 545 sold in February.

The number of properties listed for sale increased last month to 1,766 from 1,545 in February.

Kyle Kerr, president of the Victoria board, said the lower number of sales in March compared with the previous year is probably the result of a number of factors.

These include “recent heavy measures by the provincial government to reduce the value of home prices and the federal government’s new mortgage qualification rules.”

Add in rising interest rates and that creates a market in transition, Kerr said.

“Every time there is intervention into a market, it takes a few months for the market to rebalance.”

Kerr pegged government measures as “continual,” saying the market is going through a new cycle of ongoing uncertainty.

Demand is strong, partly because of low inventory, but also because of Victoria’s desirable location, he said.

It was a similar situation north of the Malahat, where the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board said sales of single-family homes, apartments, and townhouses all dipped in March, likely due to government policy changes, stricter mortgage qualification rules and consumer uncertainty.

Last month, 399 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service, compared with 316 in February and 482 one year ago.

In March, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area reached $490,100, up 19 per cent from one year ago.

Last month, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area climbed to $401,500, an increase of 24 per cent over March 2017. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $475,600, up 17 per cent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $426,900, an increase of 17 per cent compared with March 2017. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 17 per cent to $528,900 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 20 per cent to $554,400. The cost of a benchmark home in Port Alberni reached $276,600, up 27 per cent from one year ago.

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