The number of listings shrunk in July from the spring total around Greater Victoria

HOMEFINDER: Annual summer slowdown not so noticeable

Increased holiday activity in market keeps West Shore realtors busy

Nobody was talking much about the drop in home sales in July from June around Greater Victoria, since the summer real estate swoon is a regular occurrence around these parts.

What did raise eyebrows, however, was that the total sales for all types of homes, 796, was up nearly 17 per cent higher than the same month last year. With that increase came a continued slow climb in selling prices.

“I think people overall are a little more confident in the market,” says Tim Ayres, past-president of the Victoria Real Estate Board. “More people are buying because more people are buying; it does create a little more of a buzz out there.”

On the West Shore, the benchmark price for a typical single family home crept up slightly to $422,800, a region-low change of less than a third of one per cent from last month. On the other hand, the benchmark is more than $10,000 higher than July 2014 or roughly 2.4 per cent.

Looking at it from a supply and demand perspective, the board uses the ratio of sales to active listings to determine whether the market is tilted toward buyers (downward pressure on prices), sellers (upward pressure on prices) or neither (little pressure either way, thus creating a balanced market).

Given that the ratio sat just over 20 per cent for July in Greater Victoria, we’re on the high edge of a balanced market. It means we aren’t at a point where bidding wars are rampant due to lack of supply, Ayres said, but instances where multiple offers on homes are being received are becoming more common.

While the sales numbers this year have shown a positive climate for real estate, people need to be careful to not price a home too aggressively in hopes of taking advantage of the improved market, he said.

“They have to be pretty confident in their marketing strategy and the activity in their neighbourhood,” Ayres said, noting that inappropriately priced homes can sit on the market for longer than necessary.

As for summer being sleepy season due to people being on holiday, the increased activity in general continues to keep real estate agents busy.

Ayres took a little time off recently, but still managed to negotiate three deals while he was away. “The nice thing about our job is we can do so much remotely,” he said, adding the smartphone has been a great invention for realtors.

“When you’re looking at the raw numbers, there’s definitely a dropoff in July and August then you get an uptick in the fall. But we’re still so much busier than last year.”

The outstanding summer weather Greater Victoria has been experiencing doesn’t hurt home sales, either, with gardens in bloom and plenty of blue skies in exterior photos. It’s a great way to envision some of the best a home can be.

For more on the selling regions of Greater Victoria, visit vreb.org.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Q: WHY BUY IN SUMMER?

Depending on the climate, more homes are built and come onto the market during the summer.

And more options make for a more buyer-friendly market, because of the competition as well as increased selection.

As well, traditionally, people selling homes want to get it done during the spring so they can settle in during the summer, use vacation time for renovations and make arrangements for their kids to start school in the fall.

You may well find a deal on a home in the summer for less money than what it would have cost in the spring.

GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » MONTH ENDING JULY 31/15

COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD

» 796 / 681 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL, JULY 2014

» 1,235 / 1,195 –NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, JULY 2014

» 3,942 / 4,570 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL, JULY 2014

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