The latest statistics show the Victoria market is continuing its downward trend with a 25% drop in sales from May of last year. At the same time, the benchmark price (a typical house in an area) for a single-family home in the core area hit an all-time record of $878,100, a 7% increase over May 2017. In May, the average price for a home in Greater Victoria reached $921,046.
The speculation tax proposed by our provincial government continues to be foremost on the minds of many property owners and is probably largely contributing to the slower sales and increased listings. Ken Mariash of Focus Equities has arranged a panel discussion event to discuss the impact of this tax. (For event details click here.) While the foreign buyers tax of 20% has had an impact on luxury home sales, it is definitely not seeing the attention it should be due to the many other taxes proposed.
Home sales under the $1M mark continue to be brisk with some multiple offers occurring. There were 2 significant sales this past month, both of which were non-oceanfront properties in the municipality of Oak Bay. 661 Newport Avenue sold for $4.1M and 526 Beach Drive sold for $4.2M.
Canada’s big banks have been in a competitive pricing war over variable-rate mortgages. This is leaving mortgage borrowers struggling to interpret the mixed blessings. The Bank of Canada has raised its trend-setting interest rate once this year and is expected to do so at least once more before the end of 2018. When interest rates rise, banks are usually inundated with demand for fixed rates, so borrowers can lock in their rates.
In April, home sales in Canada dropped 13.9% year-over-year. CREA, the organization representing about 100,000 real estate agents across Canada, blamed a new mortgage stress test that came into effect at the beginning of this year for the majority of the drop.
Victoria continues to make its mark on the world stage:
- Tourism is increasingly becoming a year-round industry. In March this year revenues were up by 17% versus the same month in 2017 according to Tourism Victoria.
- The new pro soccer Canadian Premier League is set to announce that a team based in Greater Victoria will be playing in the inaugural league season which begins in April 2019.
- Car enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that Maserati has decided to locate a dealership here in Victoria.
- Air North announced a new direct connection between Victoria and Whitehorse. The Monday direct fight to the Yukon opens new doors to the North from Victoria.
Please don’t hesitate to call me if you have any real estate related questions.