This home, located in the 9600-block of Fifth Street, is currently listed for $1.350 million with two nearby properties listed for the same price. New figures from VREB show the benchmark for single-family homes in Sidney was just over $1 million in March. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

This home, located in the 9600-block of Fifth Street, is currently listed for $1.350 million with two nearby properties listed for the same price. New figures from VREB show the benchmark for single-family homes in Sidney was just over $1 million in March. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Homeownership a $1 million dream in most of Greater Victoria

3 communities left in Greater Victoria with single-family home benchmarks below $1 million

The latest figures from Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) show the purchase price of a single-family in Sidney is beyond the $1-million barrier. That means only three communities are left under that mark in Greater Victoria.

In March, the MLS home price index for a detached single-family home in Sidney was $1.031 million. Up from February, when it was just below that figure at $997,600. Six months ago, it was $907,100 and a year ago, it was $769,400. This means that within a calendar year, it has risen by almost 25 per cent in Sidney.

By breaking the $1-million barrier, Sidney officially joins North Saanich ($1.481 million) and Central Saanich ($1.171 million) as communities on the Peninsula where a single-family home costs in excess of $1 million. For the Peninsula as a region, the benchmark was almost $1.234 million in March, an increase of 3.4 per cent from February and 32.7 per cent from March 2021.

Across the region, the benchmark price stood at $1.141 million in March 2022, up 30.4 per cent from March 2021. For the core and West Shore (as defined by VREB), the corresponding figures were $1.233 million (up 27.4 per cent from March 2021) and just over $1.001 million (up 35.5 per cent from March 2021). These figures mean that the West Shore remains the ‘cheapest’ region in Greater Victoria when it comes to real estate, but this assessment becomes increasingly relative.

Esquimalt ($982,700), Malahat and area ($960,600) and Sooke ($887,500) remain the only Greater Victoria jurisdictions within the VREB coverage area where single-family homes (as measured by the home price index) cost less than $1 million. Oak Bay remains the most expensive jurisdiction with a single-family home costing $1.659 million, followed by Highlands ($1.515 million) and North Saanich ($1.481 million). VREB also includes the Gulf Islands ($718,300).

RELATED: 2021 a banner year for real estate in Greater Victoria

Looking at sales, realtors sold 833 properties in March, 29 per cent fewer than the 1,173 properties sold in March 2021 but a 16 per cent increase from February. Sales of condominiums were down 26 per cent from March 2021 with 279 units sold. Sales of single-family homes decreased 28.2 per cent from March 2021 with 412 sold.

VREB president Karen Dinnie-Smyth described March as a record-breaking month by virtue of limited listings. “This March had the lowest number of active listings we have seen in a month of March — beating last year’s record low,” she said. “For context, in the past five years, the average number of active listings at the end of March is 1,864 properties. This March had just over 1,000 properties at month-end.”

Overall, Dinnie-Smyth said she sees the spring market with some uncertainty. “March generally kicks off the busy spring real estate season,” she said. “However, this month’s sales and listings may have been partly depressed by reasons beyond the market. After two spring breaks of COVID restrictions, it’s plausible that many prospective buyers and sellers put their plans on pause to travel. Looking forward, it is difficult to predict what this spring will look like as those buyers and sellers return to the market.”

Rising interest rates, governmental promises to apply new barriers to sales such as cooling-off periods, inflationary pressures and record-high house prices continue to make this a challenging market, she added.


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