Tuesday February 1, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
The lowest property inventory on record for the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) leaves them saying today that “our market will be slow to change until our inventory levels perk up”.
There were 744 active MLS listings at the end of January 2022 which is starkly lower than 1,321 listings one year before at the end of January 2021.
That was in the usual start-of-month news release from VREB, under new leadership this year with Karen Dinnie-Smyth as president.
She notes that property sales in the Greater Victoria area were a bit higher in January — at 474 sales, that was 8.2 percent higher compared to the previous month of December 2021. But January 2022 sales were 26.6 percent fewer than a year ago in January 2021.
In the January 2022 mix we see the sales volume of single family homes having dropped by 39.7 percent compared to one year ago, and condo sales were down 13 percent compared to January 2021.
The market is not slowing down, cautions Dinnie-Smyth. It’s just that there’s not a lot of product to sell. Compared to December 2021, there were 14.1 percent more properties at January 2022 month-end, but again that’s one of the lowest inventories on record, according to VREB.
Pandemic housing demand:
At the start of the pandemic in spring 2020 the demand for more spacious living accommodation was high. After the initial pandemic lockdown phase, housing sales burst the seams of the market in spring, summer and fall of 2020.
In 2021 the market limped along in terms of product availability but prices increased throughout the year as people leveraged upon historically-low interest rates (Bank of Canada base rate 0.25%) and also their own savings from not having used as much of their disposal income during 2020 and 2021 (travel, tourism and dining were restricted or disrupted for most of the last 22 months).
In Greater Victoria overall, the average sale price of homes actually sold (not the benchmark data-adjusted figures) last month was $1,415,759 compared to $1,220,626 one year ago in January 2021 — in other words, sales prices went up 14.8 percent in one 12-month period for the full Greater Victoria region.
Naturally, more supply (of new construction) would increase the listing market-level inventory.
As well, if socioeconomic conditions change in ways that activate another round of housing shifts — such as people not being able to afford maintenance or taxes on homes that have rapidly increased in market value, more houses would be put onto the market for sale.
In many communities there are affordable-housing units being built within buildings in which units are otherwise market-priced.
West shore focus:
In Langford, Colwood and Sooke people have been finding homes considered relatively affordable compared to the core areas of Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay.
And while that price gap closed fast during the last two years of pandemic (with Langford and Colwood single family homes solidly over the $1.2 million mark and Sooke now past $850,000), the volume of homes for sale is still more ample in the west shore, much of it being new construction which people like (as do their banks and mortgage brokers).
Sale prices in January 2022:
Here are some average sale price comparisons for single family homes, townhomes and condos in the west shore area. Note that sales volumes are highest in Langford, less so in Colwood, and even lower in Sooke.
View Royal prices are closer to the higher Saanich/Oak Bay pricing, which limits sales volumes.
These prices include waterfront properties that sold in January 2022:
|Map Area||Single Family Homes (# sales)||Row/Townhouses (# sales)||Condominiums (# sales)|
|Langford||$1,212,849 (29)||$851,063 (20)||$614,500 (40)|
|Colwood||$1,273,153 (24)||$1,000,877 (7)||$822,417 (3)|
|Sooke||$862,396 (14)||$599,300 (3)||$789,500 (2)|
|View Royal||$1,759,333 (3)||$200,000 (1) / normally higher||$600,379 (5)|
|Greater Victoria||$1,415,759 (174)||$872,869 (61)||$683,256 (186)|
Climate change housing demand:
Homes that now include climate-responsive features like heat pumps, geothermal and solar panels, are going to be in increasing demand as the years go by.
As part of ongoing lifestyle and investment sustainability, Realtors are hopefully advising clients on aspects of properties that are climate-change related, such as proximity to flood zones, and overall temperature and seasonal impacts.
This year the Victoria Real Estate Board president is Karen Dinnie-Smyth, with Graden Sol as president-elect,. These Realtors are the other 2022 directors: Sheila Aujla, Bev Berger, Fergus Kyne, Laurie Lidstone, Dirk VanderWal; past-president is David Langlois. The Executive Officer is David Corey.
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mary P Brooke has been following trends of the real estate market for over 20 years in the south Vancouver Island region.