Thursday April 1, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
The proof is in the numbers… the housing market in Greater Victoria is short on supply.
In Langford where for years there has been the reputation of housing being relatively affordable, during this pandemic demand has pushed higher, and the latest Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) stats show the real average sale price (not data-adjusted) was $1,014,349 in Langford in March 2021.
Just one year ago the average sale price was in the mid-$700,000 range in Langford. This shows a strong interest in becoming invested in the Langford housing cycle, if you compare to View Royal (a bit closer to the Victoria core areas of Saanich and Esquimalt) where prices are high but have not shot extraordinarily far over the mark.
And just a few years ago the average house sale price in Sooke was in the mid-$500,000 range. Last month the average sale price was a scorching $814,204, even though living that far out from the core comes with drawbacks (minimal range of retail and services, and a long drive on a one-road-in/out which produces its own lifestyle issues.
This is an over-inflated price point in two communities that have boasted affordability, but that’s what is happening as people who can afford it seek more spacious homes as the pandemic drags on, including moving from shared accommodation into single family homes.
Public health orders require people to keep physical distance and — where possible — work from home. Most people who worked outside their homes pre-COVID probably didn’t have an ample or suitable workspace in mind at home. Working off the side of the kitchen table doesn’t cut muster for long.
VREB comments on limited supply:
“Limited supply with overwhelming demand has been the story for the first quarter of 2021,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President David Langlois about the distinct market forces at play during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As well, there is a healthy market for those who invest in houses to then rent them out or live in them a while and sell again (i.e. flip).
“Supply needs to be addressed by all levels of government and particularly by local governments which control land use policies and development processes,” said Langlois in the VREB release issued today about March 2021 property sale stats.
March sales profile:
The average number of sales in March over the past 10 years (other than in COVID-year-2020 which is an anomaly) is 715 properties, says VREB. So the March 2021 sales tally of 1,173 is high. Last year as the economy shut down after mid-March (the pandemic was declared in BC on March 17, 2020) there were 608 sales.
So it’s a somewhat unbalanced comparison, but we can note that the 1,173 properties sold in the VREB region this March 2021 was almost double (92.9 per cent more) than the 608 properties sold in March 2020 and 35.9 per cent more than the previous month of February. Sales of condominiums burst over the 100 per cent mark — those were up 111.8 per cent last month compared to March 2020, with 377 units sold. Sales of single family homes were up 88.2 per cent from March 2020 with 574 sold.
There were 1,310 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of
March 2021, which is 41.8 per cent fewer properties than the total available at the end of March last year — as the supply of available properties has been significantly absorbed over this past year during the pandemic. That March 2021 month-end 1,310 tally of available properties is almost identical to the property inventory one month prior (end of February 2021).
Interest rates are historically so low they’re nearly rock bottom (0.25%), and this is expected to remain the case for a few years beyond the end of the pandemic, as was projected by Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklin last year (even ahead of his June 2020 posting to the job he came into the post with some crackerjack views to ride the pandemic storm proactively).
West shore market sale prices:
In March 2021 there was continued strong interest in purchasing properties in the west shore, where prices are generally considered more affordable than in the core areas of Greater Victoria.
Here is a profile of actual sale price averages for March 2021 for Langford, Colwood, Sooke and View Royal:
Single Family Homes:
- Colwood – $902,709 (23 sales)
- Langford – $1,014,349 (83 sales)
- Sooke – $814,204 (36 sales)
- View Royal – $954,813 (16 sales)
- Greater Victoria (13 municipalities / 16 map areas + waterfront) = $1,181,265
- Colwood – $531,333 (9 sales)
- Langford – $495,935 (52 sales)
- Sooke – $304,500 (1 sale)
- View Royal – $538,326 (14 sales)
- Greater Victoria (13 municipalities / 16 map areas + waterfront) = $538,326
- Colwood – $626,900 (4 sales)
- Langford – $636,656 (42 sales)
- Sooke – $554,162 (16 sales)
- View Royal – $716,300 (3 sales)
- Greater Victoria (13 municipalities / 16 map areas + waterfront) = $684,257