Why is the property market so hot in Victoria?


The Victoria market continues to "ride the Vancouver wave" as record sales continue to be reported.

In March the average MLS residential price in B.C. was up 20.2% year over year, to $771,620. This price is refelcting the huge sale prices that Vancouver properties are obtaining.

It is evident that supply imbalances are becoming increasingly common as residential listings are not keeping pace with consumer demand. In fact, it is not uncommon in the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) to see more sales (pending) reported on a single day than new listings coming on the market. Currently there are under 2,000 listings of homes on the VREB, whereas this time last year there were more than 3,900 listings. Local Sellers are holding off listing their homes as they try to find a replacement before listing contributing to the limited number of properties for sale. In April sales were up 53% in Victoria over April 2015. 

The market is being driven by this shortage of properties for sale resulting in Greater Victoria house prices rising 5% in the first quarter of 2016. The shortage of listings combined with pent local demand and demand from across the water, is resulting in frustrated buyers participating in multiple offer scenarios and coming away empty handed.

The need to put in competitive "clean" offers is also complicating matters especially where buyers are approved for financing but the banks still need to approve the contract and do a property appraisal. There have been instances where Sellers have refused access for a bank requested appraisal after an unconditional accepted offer is signed. The banks cannot finance it. Also, realtors are risking a backlash from selling a home without their buyers doing an inspection. Sotheby's is asking its agents to have a waiveer signed by buyers acknowledging that they have chosen not to do an inspection. Buyers must be aware of the ramifications of condition free offers.

Who are these buyers? Downsizing from larger homes to take equity out of real estatae to enable freedom to travel and invest is a common theme. I have a number of clients looking for high quality, one level homes which still give them comfortable living space and a double garge etc. but not the yard and monster home requiring maintenance. 

Victoria has been anticipating the Baby Boomers for a long time but not to the extent that they are now coming, particularly from Vancouver.

Often ignored is the fact that Victoria's biggest industry is now the tech industry, resulting in young families scrambling to find homes in Victoria's "better" neighbourhoods near good schools.

Recent articles by Vogue magazine and The Toronto Star add to the allure of Victoria along with the U.S./Canadian dollar exchange rate which encourages Canadian's to retire in Canada - and, where better than Victoria.