April was a hot month for the Vancouver Island housing market: the Victoria Real Estate Board recorded 1

HOMEFINDER: Housing market heading into a scorching summer

Greater Victoria’s April property sales up 53 per cent over 2015 numbers

It already feels like summer, and with the hot weather comes an even hotter housing market.

Sales of properties in the Victoria Real Estate Board region, including the West Shore, went up an astounding 53 per cent this April, compared to the same month last year. The VREB saw 1,286 properties sold last month. Up from 840 in April 2015.

Additionally, home buyers had fewer properties to choose from in April 2016 than April 2015, with active listings totalling 2,594 at the end of the month, down from 3,945 a year prior.

In a statement, VREB president Mike Nugent attributed the boost in home sales to a range of ongoing market trends, including low mortgage rates, higher employment, diversity of properties for sale and “growing international awareness” of Greater Victoria as a place to live.

“We continue to see extraordinary interest in the Victoria and area housing market,” said Nugent. “The vast majority of Victoria buyers are from within the local Victoria marketplace.”

According to the VREB, Victoria area residents, including those from the West Shore made up 70.5 per cent of home buyers last year. In the first quarter of 2016, the average has risen to 72.5 per cent.

Nugent said this quarter, they’ve seen slight increases in buyers from the Lower Mainland (8.2 per cent, up from 7.4 per cent in 2015), the U.S. (one per cent, up from 0.8 per cent) and Asia (0.8 per cent, up from 0.7 per cent).

They’ve also seen a decrease in Albert buyers, dropping from 5.7 per cent in 2015 to 3.9 per cent this quarter.

The VREB said the benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria core was estimated at $581,700 in April 2015, and has since increased 17.7 per cent to $684,900. Nugent noted demand has created competition among prospective buyers.

“As a consumer it may pay to get creative, consider types of property and locations you may have not originally identified,” he said, adding condos and townhomes may be more appropriate for first-time buyers.

Nugent noted some areas, such as Esquimalt and the West Shore, are under slightly less pricing pressure and may offer more affordable alternatives.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Q: HOW DO NEW B.C. RULES ON CONTRACT ASSIGNMENT HELP HOME SELLERS?

This week Premier Christy Clark announced new regulations designed to protect home sellers from so-called “shadow fiipping” scenarios

Under the regulations, due to take effect May 16, real estate licensees who draft offers to buy property must include two separate terms about contract assignment in the offer: one that requires the seller’s consent to transfer the contract; and one that requires any resulting profit to be returned to the seller.

If the prospective buyer wants to remove these terms from the offer, the buyer’s licensee must notify the seller that the terms have been removed from the offer. The seller has the power to reject the offer and insist on one or both of the terms. Sellers must be advised to seek independent professional advice.

These changes are designed to prevent situations in which a buyer purchases a property, only to reassign the contract at a higher price before the closing date, without the seller approving the assignment. By ensuring conditions around assignment are transparent at the outset, sellers are in a better position to decide whether or not to accept an offer.

British Columbians with concerns about the conduct of real estate licensees should contact the Real Estate Council of BC. The council’s mandate is to protect the public interest by enforcing the licensing and licensee conduct requirements of the Real Estate Services Act.

GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » MONTH TO DATE MAY 9/16  COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD

» 320 / 905 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL, MAY 2015

» 392 / 1,485 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, MAY 2015

» 2,533 / 4,043 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL, MAY 2015

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