Victoria maintains healthy sales pace

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If British Columbia’s housing market is in a slump, nobody told buyers and sellers in Victoria.

While only 740 properties sold in June, it was a 4.5% boost over June 2018, according to the Victoria Real Estate Board. However, while there was a marked drop in June sales compared to the previous month—12.7% to be exact—especially in the condo market where sales were down 6.1%, single-family homes sales surged 10.4% with 394 houses sold.

According to Polly Cordwell, managing broker for Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, there is a lot of construction in Victoria right now, from infrastructure projects to residential real estate development.

“In a lot of areas here, it’s definitely increased quite significantly, even versus last year. There are a lot of different municipalities that make up Greater Victoria, and there are some with big increases,” she said.

Certainly helping matters, Mayor Lisa Helps is pro-development and it’s writ-large all over Langford, added Cordwell.

“Victoria is doing very well. We’re seeing that home sales over $1 million have definitely dropped off, but there are a lot of properties under $1m here in Victoria—the benchmark price is under $1m—and this year the market is performing similarly to last year, which was a good year for us.”

Of course, booming markets become expensive and Victoria is no exception, but compared to Vancouver, from which there’s been an influx of residents in Victoria, it’s still a bargain.

“Condo development and a lot of rental construction here are helping meet the marketplace’s needs,” said Cordwell. “The population is growing and the community needs to build more housing because it’s difficult for people to find housing here right now.”

Like bigger cities, Victoria is slow to approve developments for rezoning and it’s causing a supply lag in the market. As demand continues escalating in tandem with Victoria’s desirability, that will be problematic, says Cordwell.

“We have a lot of people wanting to move here from Vancouver, and even with prices in Vancouver dropping, for a lot of people it’s not affordable enough over there,” she said. “In the higher end of the market, we’ll see it slower, but in homes under $1m that are more affordable for people, it will continue on at a steady pace.”