The latest stats for the Victoria Real Estate market appear to be following the trend in B.C.
Across B.C. March sales showed a decline of 24.6% over March 2017, while average property prices climbed 5.3% over the same period.
In Victoria, April sales were down 12.5% compared to April 2017 while prices in the core area of Victoria (Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt and View Royal) were up nearly 9%. The price increase has been largely driven by condominiums which are up 18.4% from April 2017.
Adding to the many construction cranes hovering over the downtown core, Developer Townline has won city hall approval to construct Victoria’s tallest building at 26 storeys. Once built, it will outstrip the 21 story Promontory condo tower at Songhees in Vic West. The building located at 777 Herald Street will be called Hudson Place One and is projected to be completed in early 2020.
In April, the Bank of Canada chose to maintain its trend-setting interest rate as its careful assessment of the timing of future hikes continues amid a backdrop of moderating growth. The central bank, which kept its rate at 1.25%, said slower first-quarter growth of about 1.3% was largely a result of housing markets’ responses to stricter mortgage rules and sluggish exports. The bank had predicted the economy to expand by 2.5% in the first three months of the year.
It is expecting the economy to rebound in the second quarter with 2.5% growth, in part because of rising foreign demand, to help Canada expand by two per cent for all of 2018. The economy saw three per cent growth in 2017.
Last week, Royal Bank and Toronto-Dominion Bank chose to announce plans to raise their posted mortgage rate for a five-year fixed-rate mortgage. RBC will raise it to 5.34% and TD Bank to 5.59%. Royal Bank spokesman AJ Goodman said, “Based on current conditions our rates reflect the right balance between our clients’ expectations and our costs of funding mortgages.”
A CIBC Capital Markets report suggests an estimated 47% of all existing mortgages will need to be refinanced in 2018, up from the 25 to 35% range in a typical year.
The increase in mortgage renewals is an unintended consequence of various rounds of regulatory changes in the past few years aimed at reducing risk coupled with rising house prices that made it harder for home buyers to qualify, said Ian Pollick, CIBC’s executive director and head of North American Rates Strategy in a recent report.
On another note, it was the New York Times’ turn to heap praise on Victoria. The newspaper’s travel section turned attention to Victoria with an article on how to spend 36 hours in B.C.’s capital. Compliments poured out from writer Suzanne Carmick, who kicked off her piece by describing Victoria an “urban jewel with innovative restaurants, gorgeous parks and gardens and museums that celebrate the area’s many cultures.”
Of course we know that, that is why we choose to live here!
The optimism of spring is well and truly here and the beauty of blossoms adorn our streets and yards.