New housing prices in Greater Victoria are among the fastest growing in Canada, according to Statistics Canada.
Victoria Census Metropolitian Area (CMA) saw the price for new homes rise by one per cent in February compared to January. That rate gave Victoria the third-highest increase in the country, as 17 out of 27 CMAs recorded increases in the cost of new housing.
Ottawa — “Canada’s hottest housing market,” according to the agency — saw an increase of 1.1 per cent, the same as St. Catharines-Niagara, followed by Victoria, and Cambridge-Waterloo (0.9 per cent).
“Builders in all four CMAs reported favourable market conditions as the primary reason for the increase,” read an accompanying analysis.
These conditions include among others population growth coupled with low unemployment rates, with Victoria recording both.
While Victoria CMA is not growing as fast as it did during the middle of the last decade — some 8,596 people moved to the CMA in 2016 alone — it remains a popular destination for international migrants as well as arrivals from other parts of the province. (Without attracting residents from other parts of the province and around the world Victoria would actually be shrinking as the number of people who died in Greater Victoria outstripped the number of newborns by 746, as of July 1, 2019 and the number of deaths has outstripped the number of newborns every year since 2008/09.)
Victoria also consistently boosts one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada, recording the lowest in all of Canada with 3.4 per cent in March 2020. British Columbia’s unemployment rate, by contrast, stood at five per cent, up 0.5 per cent from January 2020.
But this attractiveness also has a price. A global survey tracking global housing affordability shows Greater Victoria is the 16th most unaffordable housing market in eight major countries. (Hong Kong is the least affordable and Vancouver the second-least affordable market, according to the 16th annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey).
The figures from Statistics Canada come with one bright spot for residents concerned about housing affordability. Compared to the same period last year, new housing prices have remained exactly the same.
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