High-end homes still selling

Five bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and more than 12,000 square feet of living space.

Five bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and more than 12,000 square feet of living space.

Indoor pools, views of Mount Baker, a putting green on the waterfront and your own vineyard. Or even just your own private island with an expansive main dwelling, plus guest house.

For most, these amenities are the stuff of dreams. But for others in Greater Victoria, they’re a reality. And it’s big business.

Properties in the multimillion-dollar range bring skilled workers to the region, said David Scoones, the University of Victoria’s chair of economics.

Greater Victoria’s high-end properties and the people who own them, help contribute to the local economy, he said.

“There’s no doubt that many wealthy people are able to do things because they have a lot of money,” Scoones said.

Yet, he said, it seems the region’s wealthy don’t spend much locally on big-ticket items beyond homes. “It’s a little surprising to me that there’s not more wealth on display.”

Scoones said high-end real estate can contribute to the economy when demand drives construction and renovations.

“Are rich people good for the economy? That question is the fundamental question behind all revolutions in history,” he said.

Transactions in Greater Victoria’s real estate market have slowed recently, affecting both average-priced and extreme-priced properties, real estate agents have observed.

“Well, I think definitely everybody’s certainly now spending more frugally than (they did) at the peak of the market,” said real estate agent Lisa Williams.

Williams currently has two listings at more than $8 million and recently sold two others for more than $7 million.

Real estate agent Peter Nash said he’s not so certain the market has slowed. He’s sold two multimillion-dollar Gulf Islands properties this year, plus a private island.

“If somebody has got the money, they’re going to (make an offer),” Nash said. “People do hesitate, there’s a little bit of that.”

Victoria’s reputation as an idyllic place to relax is well known across the country, said Randi Masters, president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, who has sold a few multimillion-dollar homes.

“A lot of (buyers) are local, a lot of them are from other parts of Canada,” Masters said. “When we see $5-million properties just going, there definitely is confidence in our market.”

High-end properties for sale in Greater Victoria:

• 529 Swanwick Rd., Metchosin – $19.5 million

• 660 Land’s End Rd., North Saanich – $19.3 million

• 9344 Ardmore Dr., North Saanich – $13.5 million

• 9750 West Saanich Rd., North Saanich – $12.9 million

• 249 King George Terr., Oak Bay – $11.5 million

• 1069 Beach Dr., Oak Bay – $11.5 million

• 1101 Beach Dr., Oak Bay – $10.9 million

• 2901 Sea View Dr., Saanich – $8.3 million

• 2670 Queenswood Dr., Saanich – $6.3 million

• 3825 Beach Dr., Oak Bay – $5.4 million

Mega sales

Between January and November 2010:

• 1 property sold for more than $6 million

• 2 properties sold for more than $4 million

• 34 properties sold for more than $2 million

• 217 properties sold for more than $1 million

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