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Victoria real-estate listings spiked in April as investors sought cash-outs, but prices held steady

Downtown Victoria's condominium market has gone through a period of high inventory and suppressed demand, which continued into April, as investors sought soft landings and pursued sales of real-estate assets, while setting sights on alternatives to real-estate.

Victoria real-estate listings spiked in April as investors sought cash-outs, but prices held steady
Mike Kozakowski,
April’s real-estate market in Greater Victoria saw a large infusion of new listings while sales outpaced 2023’s activity and prices remained flat, Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) data shows.
New listings outpaced every April since 2010, landing at 1,620 fresh units available on the Multiple Listings Service (MLS), compared to the peak 14 years ago of 1,783. Total active listings in April reached 3,017, a significant upswing compared to last April’s 2,043, but still a far cry from the active listings peak of 4,638 in 2012, and second-only to June of 2019’s 3,040.
Victoria realtor Marko Juras (see website) says the relatively fast rise in available inventory is hard to peg down to a single motivator, but government impacts on the broader market are believed to be playing a role in driving investor sentiment.
“What we are not seeing at the moment, is stress seling, but investors are absolutely weighing their prospects, and many are choosing to liquidate some or all of their real-estate portfolios in light of recent government announcements,” Juras says, adding that “coupled with the provincial ban on AirBnBs, provincial rental tenancy regulations, and most recently announced, federal changes to capital gains taxation, many investors are choosing to sell real-estate holdings and this is leading to more inventory throughout the market.”
As for home prices and sales figures, Juras notes that the market is acting in different ways depending on location, unit type, and seller’s price point.
“Right now, you have a lot more inventory of condominiums in the downtown Victoria market due to investors choosing to cash out of long-term rentals or exit the short-term rental industry, and this is leading to listing stagnation as demand is not keeping up with supply, and many sellers are not willing to budge on price. Meanwhile, single-family homes priced in the $1 million to $1.2 million range are a hot commodity, as are townhomes at the entry level segment of that segment, drawing lots of interest in the $700,000 to $800,000 price range.”
Of April’s 678 total transactions across all housing types (including commercial deals), 337 single-family homes sold via MLS across the region, at an average price of $1,284,574 with a median of $1,175,000, the VREB reports. This compares to an average of $1,288,146 and a $1,195,000 median one year-ago. Last April yielded 325 sales.
208 condominiums sold, just a touch above 2023’s 205, at an average price of $605,816 and a median of $543,500. One year-ago, the average sale was at $620,606 albeit at a smaller median of $540,000. Juras believes that in the condominium segment, the impact of slow sales downtown is weighing down prices.
“Condos performed well over-all, but the glut of inventory in downtown Victoria, which is also the biggest condo market on the south Island, suppressed prices, and demand is certainly not where we’d like to be due to a variety of social and other factors,” Juras said. “Nevertheless, larger units, like two-bedroom, two-bath homes in the suburbs are strong sellers.”
Townhomes saw an average of $828,896 and a median of $770,000 across 82 transactions, equal to 2023’s activity, but at a jump in price compared to a $786,010 average and a $739,540 median. The valuation of townhomes, Juras said, can be associated to a limited availability of townhomes, and growing demand as single-family homes continue to stay out of reach for many buyers.
And it’s this latter point, the agent says, that is keeping some of the active inventory throughout Greater Victoria on the market for longer.
“There continue to be sellers in today’s market who are pricing their homes as though we’re in the peak market of 2022. There is nothing wrong with having high expectations, but today’s market is not necessarily inventory driven like it was two years ago, but rather, it is quality and price driven,” said Juras. “Today, buyers will walk if a seller won’t discount a price following an inspection, and because there is more housing to choose from, buyers are not pressured, generally, to take whatever home comes along first, no matter the condition or asking price. This means there are a growing number of listings that are lingering on the market from sellers that are firm on price.”
Also of note is the investor market is feeling squeezed, and consuming fewer units. This is leading to more units selling to owner-occupiers that would have otherwise gone to investors and made available as rentals. However, the overall cost of living and the high real-estate prices are translating to renters renting homes for longer, and young buyers making a jump from a rental to an owned home only with the help of generational wealth or assets other than savings.
“Given today’s higher interest rates, we simply haven’t seen price drops in accordance with the higher cost of borrowing, which would have been a reasonable expectation when rates began to rise. Instead, we see new buyers taking advantage of alternate sources of capital for their down payments, given that rental rates are so high, and savings are much more difficult to amass. It is very difficult, without family help, or other means of generating revenue aside from a job, to enter today’s real-estate market,” Juras said.
Despite the many tangents pulling today’s housing market in multiple directions, Juras says the sentiment remains positive.
“There is no panic selling, which means there are no deals to be had. My clients are not walking away with noteworthy prices for highly desirable properties, for example, but nor are they pressured into buying situations like we saw two years ago. There is far more balance to today’s market, but overall, given the strong demand for housing in our region, we remain in a seller’s market with prices expected to follow a relatively flat trajectory.” C
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