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June market: Downtown condos dragged down sales as buyers hunted houses throughout the CRD

The James Bay skyline, as seen from Victoria West. The Inner Harbour splits two residential areas connected by downtown Victoria, where condominium sales continue to struggle with social issues at street level. Elsewhere in the CRD, single-family homes continued to draw buyers willing to pay a premium for a housing type that has drawn significant political attention in recent years.  Citified.ca

June market: Downtown condos dragged down sales as buyers hunted houses throughout the CRD
Mike Kozakowski, Citified.ca
The supply of single-family homes continues to under-represent demand in the house-starved Capital Region where political pressure has mobilized to down-scale development of the most desirable housing type, while encouraging higher density housing despite less market buy-in.
 
In June, single-family housing was the only market segment throughout Greater Victoria to surpass last year’s sales, as condominiums took a blow amid market struggles tethered to downtown Victoria’s blues, while townhomes stayed calm and carried on, Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) data shows.
 
661 properties changed hands via the Multiple Listings Service (MLS), over half of which were detached houses, VREB reports, as the last month of the perennially busy spring buying season led to a mixed bag of data heading into the summer months.
 
June’s detached home sales numbered 342 units through the MLS, the highest for that month since June of 2021 when 440 homes sold. The average price paid was $1,268,241, surpassing last June’s $1,262,623 by just under 0.5%. The median this year was $1,185,000, up nearly 0.9% over last June’s $1,175,000, across 322 sales. In May, the average paid for a single-family-home was $1,323,064 and the median was $1,177,500. Between January and June, the average sales price over the first six months of the year was $1,280,554 and the median averaged $1,154,948.
 
“The single-family-home market continues to be resilient. So much so, that quality, desirable properties have no problem selling, and can even attract bidding wars,” says Victoria realtor, Marko Juras (see website). “We’ve yet to see price concessions substantially impact longer-term averages or medians as competition is strong for desirable listings, but as lower quality or less desirable listings continue to grow in number, sellers will have to budge on price or risk dealing with a stagnant listing. The lower end of the market could see price adjustments heading into summer.”
 
Condominiums, dragged by a tricky downtown Victoria market, reached an MLS sales total of 202 units in June, a substantial drop from last year’s 242 units, but equal to June of 2022’s total. The prices, however, fell to a three year low at an average of $586,978, well down from last June’s $668,110. The median wasn’t quite as pronounced of a tumble, hitting $549,950 this year and $560,500 last. In May of 2024, the average price was $613,936 albeit at a slightly lower median than that in June, at $547,450. Over the first six months of this year, the median has averaged $545,000 and the average has ‘averaged’ $603,787.
 
“The condominium market is seeing a lot of downward pressure at the moment, particularly in the downtown core where many listings are available but buyers are wary of pulling the trigger given the social issues they see when viewing listings,” Juras says. “However, there are deals to be had right now, and you can stretch your dollar much further this year, even though the averages and medians may show stable or stagnant pricing, what I’m seeing is buyers able to buy much more for the same price they would have paid last year.”
 
Juras also notes that investors have largely walked away from the Capital’s condominiums due to high interest rates, limitations on how units can be used, and capital gains ramifications introduced by the federal government.
 
The townhome market delivered a predictable 81 sales via MLS at an average of $793,271 and a median of $770,000. The average last June was $836,207, and the median $804,198, across 90 sales. In May, the average was $836,439 and the median $789,574, with 91 transactions. Juras says the townhome market, while stable, is also seeing some price pressure and longer listing intervals.
 
“Townhome values are holding steady for now, but you can see price exhaustion materializing,” Juras said. “Buyers are looking for solid value propositions, and location plays a major role in how demand will show up for a given listing. Well situated, reasonably priced listings have no problem moving in this market.”
New listings fell from a peak of 1,757 units in May to 1,496 units, a total also lower than April’s 1,620. Last June had 1,297 new listings emerge. Overall active listings numbered 3,460 units in June, up from May’s 3,338 and over 1,100 units higher than June of 2023’s 2,342 units.
 
Will the rise in available units force prices to fall? It’s possible, Juras says, but there may need to be many more listings on the market to see meaningful change.
 
“We may consider 3,400 units of active inventory as a high figure, but keep in mind that in 2014 there were over 4,600 units on the market, and in 2012 nearly 5,200 properties were for sale. We saw price concessions then, so until we see another 25% to 50% increase, I don’t expect much in the way of pressure sales,” Juras said.
 
Looking toward the summer, Juras expect a slower market than in 2023 with relatively stable prices. The realtor does not believe the Bank of Canada will lower interest rates until the fall at the earliest. C
 
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