With approximately 10 per cent less inventory for sale

HOMEFINDER: Strong market driving home inventory down

Wait too long and the home you want may already be sold

2015 is shaping up to be a big year.

Victoria Real Estate Board president Guy Crozier said while the market hasn’t quite hit the peaks of 2007, houses selling, inventory is shrinking and the real estate market across Greater Victoria is the strongest he has seen since 2008.

“Our sales are a lot stronger and have been strengthening over the last two years but moderately,” Crozier said. “But all the way from mid January to February, our market has strengthened by 25 per cent on average. All of a sudden, strength in sales and a declining inventory makes the market feel really strong.”

Crozier characterized the trend as going from being a buyer’s market to much more of a balanced market. The approximately 10 per cent reduction in local inventory across the CRD includes the West Shore.

“What we are noticing is the sales increases are as strong in the West Shore as anywhere else, it is not just areas like Saanich, Oak Bay and Victoria,” he said. “But here lies the difference, in the core areas of Greater Victoria like Victoria, Oak Bay and parts of Esquimalt and Saanich there is not a lot of development of new homes on as large a scale as there is on the West Shore.

A market like this will put more pressure on these areas… The West Shore is able to keep up with the growth in sales, where in areas where there (is) no new inventory – that is where inventory becomes a problem.”

He said the market is a healthy one and some houses are seeing multiple bids and moving above asking price in select pockets, or in demand areas where inventory is limited.

He said that too isn’t centralized to just one area but happening across the region more often than it has in the recent past.

If the trend continues for the next six to eight months, he said, we may see the currently balanced market sway towards a seller’s market in the not too distant future and Crozier said there are plenty of reasons for the increase.

“When sales go up it is important to look at why they go up. It is consumer confidence, it is low interest, it is a good local economy (as well as) pressure outside of our market,” he said. “You have people moving here from other parts of Canada who maybe have experienced the two worst winters in Canada and want to move here.”

He said the market is cyclical, with sales peaking in May and June, that is followed by slight dips in the summer, a steady market heading into September, before things decline in time for the holidays, then the pattern starts anew.

While the annual pattern remains consistent, the numbers are higher than in recent years he said.

“The message is that the market here is healthy and strong, but the prices aren’t crazy,” Crozier said. “That is what makes it an enjoyable market.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Q: Should I take advantage of a strong market and sell high?

There are no hard and fast rules on how to price your home because numerous variables, some outside of our control may affect the market landscape every day.

However, asking too much too early can create challenges to selling  you may want to avoid.

First of all, some buyers have a mental threshold they are unprepared to pass as they input pricing parameters into the MLS or ask their real estate agent to avoid. Starting too high can not only add the potential for staying on the market longer than you like, it may exclude your house from some potential buyers right from the start.

Discuss price with your Realtor and consider pricing your home to generate interest early and leaving the door open to multiple offers. This may help organically drive the price up without you or your Realtor having to do so.

GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » MONTH TO DATE,  MAY 25/15   COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD

» 676 / 714 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL, MAY 2014

» 1,179 / 1,509 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, MAY 2014

» 4,051 / 4,672 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL, MAY 2014

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