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Victoria real estate hit by ‘multiple offer madness’ even as home sales fall off a cliff, say buyers

But some good news is the listings inventory is starting to rebound
A new home is displayed for sale in a new housing development. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The Victoria real estate market has just had its “slowest” January on record – now buyers are getting pummelled by punishing bidding wars.

“If you’re looking at the statistics, this January was one of the slowest we’ve seen on record,” said 2023 Victoria Real Estate Board chair Graden Sol in a statement.

A jump in interest rates has meant many buyers are sitting out the market right now. Fewer buyers have mixed with what Sol described as “constrained inventory levels.:

“Despite the slower start to the market in January, and our constrained inventory levels, some consumers still found themselves in multiple-offer situations, particularly on the types of properties that represent the crucial missing middle segment of our market.”

Rebecca Sanders – who has been looking to purchase property in Victoria during the past few months to get out of renting – called it “multiple offer madness.”

“With rising rates, I didn’t expect so many people to be bidding on the same property,” Sanders told Black Press Media. “It was a little disheartening. It really was madness as the price kept going up with all of the offers. I was told to maybe try not asking for an inspection to get to the front of the line but my real estate agent said that was a bad idea. So I had to drop out of the bidding.”

A Victoria Twitter account viewed by Black Press Media detailed a similar experience.

“Been searching and saving for a house or townhouse in Victoria for years and starting to sink in that under $900K and with any yard in not likely to happen,” the account tweeted. “Very competitive out there – still lots of cash-ready folks, investors & developers … and just lost out again. 5 offers first day on market. Rare, yet tiny & dated #yyj house under $900K … Had to cancel viewing of a rare <$1M house because it already has multiple offers. Listed Tuesday.”

One positive note is that the inventory has grown lately, meaning more options for buyers.

There were 1,739 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service at the end of January 2022, an increase of 3 per cent compared to the previous month of December and a 133.7 per cent increase from the 744 active listings for sale at the end of January 2021.

A total of 278 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this January, 41.4 per cent fewer than the 474 properties sold in January 2022 and a 13.1 per cent decrease from December 2022. Sales of condominiums were down 46.3 per cent from January 2022 with 101 units sold. Sales of single-family homes decreased 33 per cent from January 2022 with 120 sold.

“However, we did see a mid-month surge in activity as buyers seemed to regain confidence after the rapid interest rate increases of last year,” said Sol. “It may be that consumers are moving past the market shock of the rate increases and economic uncertainty and that our market is regaining its equilibrium. What the data doesn’t show is the optimism that many of our REALTOR® members are noting from their buyers and sellers, who remain active viewing homes and making offers. Interest rates, continued low inventory and the greater economic situation in our area will determine what our early spring market will look like.”

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Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
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