Thursday, August 1, 2019

Listings rise, single-family benchmark price drops, as market ‘feels more normal’

Home sales in Greater Victoria dropped slightly in July in a shift the Victoria Real Estate Board is calling a return to normalcy.

There were 706 sales in the region last month, down from 740 in June but up from July 2018, when there were 651 sales.

President Cheryl Woolley said it’s not surprising to see the numbers trending slightly upward compared to last year, as the market slowly adjusts to government changes such as the mortgage stress test and continuing low mortgage interest rates. “Activity feels more normal now — more like before the real estate market in Greater Victoria saw the huge uptick in 2016 and 2017.”

The number of active listings, which also dipped a little from June, is up year over year — 2,949 properties are now listed for sale, compared with 2,607 in July last year.

“We’ve seen a little more inventory added to the market compared to last year, which means more choice for buyers,” said Woolley.

The increase in inventory might be having an effect on single-family home prices.

The benchmark price of a single-family home in the Victoria core dropped 3.4 per cent in July to $858,800, compared with $889,200 in July 2018.

Condominiums and townhomes, on the other hand, saw their benchmark prices increase slightly. The benchmark price of a condo in Victoria’s core was $523,400 in July, up from $508,300 at the same time last year, while a townhome was $660,400 last month, up from $647,800 in 2018.

The market continues to be fairly active, despite many people being in summer-vacation mode, said Woolley, noting interest in entry-level homes and those that are competitively priced remains strong. “High-end-home pricing is softer, but $1.5-million-plus homes account for only 4.6 per cent of the total market.”

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