The housing market around Greater Victoria

HOMEFINDER: Market sizzling around Greater Victoria

Desirable neighbourhoods, consumer confidence and lower inventory are putting pressure on Greater Victoria housing market

The Greater Victoria real estate market is sizzling, but it has little to do with the current heat wave.

With a few more selling days left to record for June, the Victoria Real Estate Board  had recorded 835 sales and had 1,266 active listings.

This compares to 2014 numbers that had 1,234 listings in Victoria and 680 sales for the entire month of June.

“We’ve had a good year so far,” says Board president Guy Crozier.

“When you talk to our members, there seems to be a real consumer confidence. Our local economy has been remaining strong and (coming off a holding pattern of the first few years), I think there’s a pent-up demand,” he says.

“All of a sudden people start to see value in the market.”

While part of the increase comes from people moving locally, anecdotally at least, there also seems to be a growing influx of people from out of town.

Much of that comes down to the lifestyle that Victoria offers.

“A lot of what I hear is that you have two winters across Canada like they’ve had, and you have two winters like we’ve had, and people just don’t want to do it anymore,” Crozier says.

It’s also the appeal of walkable neighbourhoods.

“They like the village lifestyle. People really like the atmosphere of those neighbourhoods, more so than ever before,” Crozier says.

The increasing listings and sales numbers are being seen in communities throughout Greater Victoria, including on the West Shore, but in areas like Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay, listings aren’t keeping up with demand, he says.

The effect of that demand is increased prices. “It’s putting pressure on the great properties that come along,” Crozier says, noting that while the beginning of the year saw price increases in the one- to 1.5 per cent range, he estimates the increase to be closer to five per cent now.

A market slow-down doesn’t seem likely soon.

“I don’t see any factors on the horizon that will cause things to change,” he says. I think you’re going to see stability in the market.”

What this active market underlines for both buyers and sellers is the importance of working with an experienced realtor, Crozier says.

“What’s really important in this market is that because things are changing so rapidly, (people should) give their realtor a call and ask what this means to their property.”

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Q: WHAT KINDS OF RENTAL SUITES ARE AVAILABLE THESE DAYS?

DFH Realty agent Mike Hartshorne lists four main categories of properties that come available for rent.

The first are in purpose-built rental buildings, of which some new ones are coming on stream on the West Shore; Westridge on Wale Road and developments in the 500-block of  Goldstream Ave., on Bryn Maur Road and Station Avenue at Jacklin Road.

The next category is condominiums being rented by their owners, which only happens in buildings that allow non-owner residents.

A third is in single-family detached homes that have a suite built into them, most commonly in the basement.

The final type is detached carriage homes built adjacent to existing homes.

These units are often rented to family members or caregivers, but they allow landlords some separation from their tenants.

GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » MONTH TO DATE,  JUNE 29/15 COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD

» 835 / 680 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL, JUNE 2014

» 1,266 / 1,234 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, JUNE 2014

» 4,013 / 4,695 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL, JUNE 2014

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