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Market Updates

April 2018 Victoria BC Real Estate Market Conditions

Slower start to spring does not signal lower prices for Victoria real estate market

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A total of 774 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this April, 12.5 per cent fewer than the 885 properties sold in April last year, but a 12.5 per cent increase from the month previous. The sales of condominiums were down 21.6 per cent from last year in April with 225 units sold. Single family homes were 8.1 per cent down from the year previous with 420 sold this April.

"We're now into the spring real estate market, which is traditionally the busiest time of the year for buying and selling homes," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. "Last year, the months of May and June were the busiest, so we may see this pattern again but on a slightly smaller scale than last year, since our sales for the year thus far are down about 18 per cent when compared to 2017. Although January to March was quite far behind last year's pace, we may see that margin get smaller as we progress through the spring months and people adjust to the new mortgage qualifying rules."

There were a total of 2,002 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of April 2018, an increase of 13.4 per cent compared to the month of March and 18.5 per cent more than the 1,690 active listings for sale at the end of April 2017.

"We continue to see low inventory in our market, and good homes in desirable locations are still seeing multiple bids," adds President Kerr. "One interesting development we are tracking is the increase of prices in a market of fewer sales. Part of the reason for this is that there is strong pressure on lower-priced properties. After the new mortgage rule changes this year, many consumers have seen a reduction in their buying power, so more are competing for lower-priced properties and in multiple offer situations, pricing is pushed up. Our area just doesn't have the supply or mix of homes needed to meet the demand. We are working with government at all levels to identify ways to meet this demand in the CRD."

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in April 2017 was $800,100, while the benchmark value for the same home in April 2018 increased by 8.3 per cent to $866,700, higher than March's value of $859,400. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in April 2017 was $418,200, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in April 2018 increased by 18.4 per cent to $495,100, which is higher than March's value of $490,000.

March 2018 Victoria BC Real Estate Market Conditions

March 2018 Victoria BC Real Estate Market Conditions

Outside Influences Impact Spring Real Estate Market in Victoria

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A total of 688 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this March, 25.9 per cent fewer than the 929 properties sold in March last year, but a 26.2 per cent increase from the month previous. The sales of condominiums were down 28.2 per cent from last year in March with 211 units sold. Single family homes were 30.8 per cent down from the year previous, with 337 sold this March.

"As we expected, March sales are tracking lower than in 2017," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. "This is likely due to a number of factors that have created hesitation in consumers, including recent heavy measures by the provincial government to reduce the value of home prices and the federal government's new mortgage qualification rules. Combine these factors with rising interest rates and you've got a housing market that is in transition due to outside influences. Every time there is intervention into a market, it takes a few months for the market to rebalance. With the continual changes of late from different levels of government, our market is experiencing a new cycle of ongoing uncertainty."

There were a total of 1,766 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of March 2018, an increase of 14.3 per cent compared to the month of February and 13.5 per cent more than the 1,556 active listings for sale at the end of March 2017.

"Despite all of the above, we continue to see benchmark price increases across our market and demand persists - partly due to low inventory - but also because of our highly desirable location," adds President Kerr. "Specific areas and price points are experiencing varying pressure on price and demand - which creates micro-markets. We are still seeing multiple offers and above asking price sales in some segments. Active buyers in our market may see some relief as inventory is slowly growing. This showcases why it is important to work with your local REALTOR® in this transitioning market to ensure you have the most up-to-date information to make purchasing and selling decisions."

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in March 2017 was $785,600, while the benchmark value for the same home in March 2018 increased by 9.4 per cent to $859,400, higher than February's value of $840,300. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in March 2017 was $409,700, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in March 2018 increased by 19.6 per cent to $490,000, which is higher than February's value of $472,600.

February 2018 Victoria BC Real Estate Market Conditions

Victoria Real Estate Market Adapts to Changing Policy Landscape

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A total of 545 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this February, 19.3 per cent fewer than the 675 properties sold in February last year. The sales of condominiums were down 15.5 per cent from last year in February with 174 units sold. Single family homes were 24.4 per cent down from the year previous, with 260 sold this February.

"We certainly anticipated that we would see some lower numbers this year compared to last," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. "Right now prospective home buyers are met with many hurdles as they start shopping for their new home. They're in a market that's experienced long-term low inventory, which means more price pressure and competition on homes. Buyers are navigating increasing interest rates and the new mortgage stress test. These factors all combine to constrain our market. Like any changes to consumer experience, there is a period of response before consumers adapt to the new rules. We saw an increase in buyers in November and December who bought early to avoid the mortgage stress test, and this likely means less buyers in the current market. However, with continued historical low inventory levels, demand is still outpacing supply."

There were a total of 1,545 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of February 2018, an increase of 3.6 per cent compared to the month of January and 0.5 per cent more than the 1,537 active listings for sale at the end of February 2017.

"The provincial government recently rolled out its budget, which includes an admirable commitment to spend six billion dollars to build 114,000 units in ten years," adds President Kerr. "These units will take years to come to market, and it is difficult to predict how many we will see in Victoria. The government needs a long-term approach to supply needs in our area, and that initial commitment is a good start. A reasonable way to bolster their commitment and improve current conditions is for the province to work with our municipalities to reduce the timelines and costs associated with bringing new housing to our market."

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in February 2017 was $771,100, while the benchmark value for the same home in February 2018 increased by 9 per cent to $840,300, slightly higher than January's value of $831,900. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in February 2017 was $394,400, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in February 2018 increased by 19.85 per cent to $472,600, which is slightly higher than January's value of $460,500.

January 2018 Victoria BC Real Estate Market Conditions

Victoria Real Estate market begins the new year with low inventory and high demand

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A total of 431 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this January, 9.8 per cent fewer than the 478 properties sold in January last year. The sales of condominiums were down 30.6 per cent from last year in January - with 118 sold. Single family homes were 4 per cent down from the previous year, with 215 selling in the first month of 2018.

"We expected January to be a bit slower after the increase in activity we saw in November and December, which was likely due in part to buyers entering the market early to avoid the new mortgage stress test," says 2018 Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. "We have yet to see the full effect of the stress test, as many people attained a 90 -120 day pre-approval before the test became required January 1. We won't know how much that stress test will affect the spring market until we see the numbers, and spring is also the time when sales traditionally pick up."

There were a total of 1,491 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of January 2018, an increase of 7.7 per cent compared to the month of December and 1.6 per cent fewer than the 1,516 active listings for sale at the end of January 2017.

"2017 concluded with very constrained inventory levels, which hit record lows early in January. The lack of inventory in our market is maintaining pressure on pricing, especially as high demand continues in many areas of Victoria," adds President Kerr. "We can also see the effects of headwinds influencing our market in 2018, including attempts to curb demand at all levels of government. The mortgage stress test is the latest to be introduced, and we may learn of further measures later this month when the provincial budget is released. We hope the government takes a balanced approach to our housing market in their budget and offsets any further demand-side measures with initiatives aimed at addressing the ongoing supply shortages for both home buyers and renters. We also encourage our local governments to take some time to assess the effects of demand-side measures like the mortgage stress test and recent interest rate hikes before introducing further restraints on our market."

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in January 2017 was $761,100. The benchmark value for the same home in January 2018 increased by 9.3 per cent to $831,900, slightly higher than December's value of $823,800. HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria area in January 2017 was $375,300. The benchmark value for the same condo in January 2018 increased by 20.1 per cent to $450,600, which is slightly higher than December's value of $445,000.

December 2017 Victoria BC Real Estate Market Conditions

Victoria Real Estate Market Strong to the End of 2017

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A total of 462 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this December, 1.9 per cent fewer than the 471 properties sold in December last year.

A grand total of 8,944 properties sold over the course of 2017, 15.8 percent fewer than the record breaking 10,622 that sold in 2016. 2017 sales came in at 21.7 per cent over the ten year average of 7,349 properties sold.

"Early in 2017 we discussed how the Victoria area housing market would be different than the record breaking year we had in 2016 and that over the course of the year we'd probably see a gradual return to a more balanced market. We did see evidence of this change come early in the year, as multiple offers and rapid price increases leveled out," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. "However, the ongoing low inventory of properties for sale meant that buyers continued to experience competitive situations in high demand areas, and multiple offers were still a common occurrence as buyers negotiated in a tighter market. What we couldn't anticipate were outside factors such as changes to mortgage qualifying rules that may have pushed people into the market early. The pending mortgage stress test in particular is likely to have caused much of the increased activity we've seen in November and December."

There were 1,384 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of December 2017, a decrease of 21.5 per cent compared to the month of November and 7.3 per cent fewer than the 1,493 active listings for sale at the end of December 2016. This is the lowest level of inventory for the area in the month of December since the statistic was tracked in 1996.

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in December 2016 was $753,900. The benchmark value for the same home in December 2017 has increased by 9.3 per cent to $823,800, and is slightly lower than November's value of $824,600.

"Overall, the low inventory and the continued interest in Victoria real estate meant that well-priced homes were quick to sell in 2017. Moving forward, we expect to see more inventory come into the market, which will continue to move us toward a more balanced state," adds President Balabanian. "We also expect housing prices to remain stable, without the increases we tracked in 2016, and anticipate steady slow growth. In markets like these, it's important to enlist the services of a REALTOR® to help you navigate what may be your largest transaction ever."

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