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May’s real-estate activity all vanilla as Victoria housing market hummed along

A residential tower in downtown Victoria has reached its 17th floor apex height. The Capital's multi-family condominium and rental housing sectors are operating at full capacity delivering new housing inventory.

May’s real-estate activity all vanilla as Victoria housing market hummed along
Mike Kozakowski,
Victoria real-estate saw little change in May despite external factors like rising interest rates, falling stock markets and fears of a recession dominating media circuits.
The peak of the spring buying season saw prices entrenched at record-highs and inventory at ultra lows. However, a semblance of realistic expectations made its presence known, and its arrival hints at the market’s readiness to ease rapidly rising valuations and a highly competitive, high-pressure buying process.
May saw single-family-home prices slip slightly from their all-time average high of $1.432 million set in April to $1.396 million, according to the Victoria Real-Estate Board (VREB), while the median fell $11,000 to $1.24 million. Throughout the month, 367 houses sold via the Multiple Listings Services (MLS) compared to 403 sales one moth prior.
250 condominiums sold in May through the MLS, a drop from 262 in April, and prices cooled from a $666,733 average to $655,518. The median dipped by $3,000 to $598,000.
Amid a backdrop of new monetary policy as Canada’s central bank starts tackling inflationary tension, Victoria realtor Marko Juras says the market felt well behaved in May as it turned towards a more balanced, healthy state.
“May felt like a much better time to be buying a home than at any time over the last three months,” Juras said. “Buyers were able to negotiate conditions with sellers, and they're finding it much easier to have sellers agree to sufficient time for conducting inspections, arranging financing, even closing deals on condition of selling a home. These are emerging signs of a healthy market, and after two years of what felt like a runaway residential real-estate sector, the market appears to be taking a much needed breath.”
Juras also believes there is a significant disconnect between media coverage of the economy, and what’s happening down on the ground in Victoria. This will continue to be a surprise for purchasers who may expect south Island real-estate to be tethered to market performance or dynamics elsewhere in the country.
“Everywhere you look, home builders remain busy, and demand for real-estate in Victoria continues to be exceptionally strong, despite discussions of economic headwinds on the news and examples of financial turbulence in other markets,” Juras said. “Is the market different today than it was several months ago? Yes, but it’s also a function of sellers pricing their properties more realistically where bidding wars are unlikely to materialize, and sellers having more confidence when making offers. This is a welcome change for what has been a red-hot housing sector since the start of the pandemic.”
Townhome sales, meanwhile, numbered 84 via the MLS, down from 102 in April. Prices averaged $850,224, representing the lowest average of 2022 after reaching a high of $946,319 in April. The median saw a sharp decline from $890,000 in April to $800,000.
In total, 761 properties changed hands in May bringing the annual sales tally over the first five months of the year to 3,610 at a valuation of $3.77 billion. 2021’s annual total was 10,052 sales valued at $8.98 billion.
Although no average, median or sales activity records were set in May, a record of a different kind put Victoria in the spotlight when an Uplands mansion sold for a staggering $13.2 million. The deal, brokered by Victoria real-estate agent Lisa Williams, landed a buyer through Victoria agent Callaghan O’connor, and represents the costliest single-family-home purchase on Vancouver Island via MLS.
The province also unveiled its plans for 'cooling off' legislation it says will protect purchasers from heated bidding wars and a lack of time for due diligence. The legislation is expected to roll out this summer, albeit its effects may be moot as the market pivots to a new interest rate environment more equitable conditions for purchasers. C
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