Real estate sales dropped almost 25 per cent from November 2018 to December 2018 (Black Press File).

Victoria real estate market approaches balanced condition

Out-going VREB president joins chorus who predict slowdown in 2019

To borrow from Shakespeare, neither buyers nor sellers be advantaged soon in Victoria’s real estate market.

Figures from Victoria Real Estate Board show that the market is approaching “balance” based on the ratio of sales to active listings. A market appears “balanced” when the ratio hovers between 15 and 20 per cent. According to the December figures, the ratio hovers just above 20 per cent with the trend line decidedly pointing downwards, as sales continue to drop.

RELATED: Provincial real estate body warns of ‘cracks’ in Canadian economy in 2019

RELATED: Victoria in Canada’s top three cities for highest household debt

Compared to December 2017, sales in December 2018 dropped 18.8 per cent with 375 units sold. Compared to November 2018, sales dropped 24.7 per cent.

Looking at the overall year, 7,150 properties sold over the course of 2018, 20 per cent fewer than the 8,994 sold in 2017.

Kyle Kerr, VREB president, said these developments confirm the influence of government on the market, which was already showing signs of levelling out through the latter part of 2017.

“All levels of government turned their focus to try to make housing more affordable and attainable across the property spectrum,” he said. “The federal government’s change to mortgage lending qualification rules this year meant many consumers lost 20 per cent of their purchasing power, which contributed to slowing down the pace of the market.”

The provincial government, as well as municipal governments, stepped up efforts to improve the supply of housing.

“These developments are important to the long-term growth of our community, because the only way to make more affordable housing in our area is to build it,” he said.

RELATED: ‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

One shorthand measure of this increased supply is the number of active listings. VREB listed 1,988 properties for sale at the end of December — up 43.6 per cent from December 2017.

Prices also show softening. While the benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria core (which includes Saanich) rose by 3.2 per cent to $858,600 compared to December 2017, it actually dropped compared to November 2018, when it stood at $865,200.

Kerr predicts that the downward trends of 2019 will continue. “Inventory is still quite low when you look at a longer range, which will continue to put pressure on pricing,” he said. “Our overall economy is predicted to slow slightly, and that will likely mean a slower increase in interest rates but also slower growth.”

On the upside, savvy buyers will have more time to find their new homes, he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Surrendered Comox Valley cats nearing adoption through SPCA

Community rallies with dozens of offers of adoption

Shawnigan Lake residents rally to rebuild memorial bus shelter

Nick’s Stop is a reminder for all to slow down

Purple Day marks long journey for Gorge resident

Legislative Assembly to recognize epilepsy on Tuesday

Ice climbers scale Canada’s tallest waterfall on Vancouver Island

Ice climbers Chris Jensen, Will Gadd and Peter Hoang made history

Tofino woman beseeches town for nude beach

“They may enjoy a surf and then walk around naked and just be free.”

Prime Minister Trudeau comes campaigning in Nanaimo

A day after announcing a May 6 byelection date for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, Justin Trudeau visits city

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Victoria Police Department’s K9s help make three arrests

Police Services Dogs Alpha and Zender have had a busy few weeks

Victoria crash threatens shipyard’s schedule for new coast guard ships

Delivery of the vessel was already years overdue

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Flu outbreak hits several facilities from Victoria to Parksville

42 people diagnosed at facility since March 15

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

Most Read