Victoria real estate sales numbers continued to be relatively flat in March compared with the previous year, according to the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) in its latest monthly market report.
A total of 640 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region in March 2019, 7 per cent fewer than the 688 properties sold in March 2018.
Still, March sales figures in Victoria marked a 50 per cent increase over February 2019. Sales of condominiums were down 7.1 per cent from March 2018 with 196 units sold but were up from February 2019 by 51.9 per cent. Sales of single family homes were down 4.5 per cent from March 2018 with 322 sold.
“We continue to see a somewhat static local real estate market through March,” said VREB in its monthly statement. “These market conditions are not a surprise. Consumers continue to adjust to the B20 mortgage qualification rules and the long-term, low inventory of homes. The good news is we have seen a month-over-month increase of active listings on the market, although we remain well under the ten-year average of 3,403.”
There were 2,435 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service (MLS) at the end of March 2019, an increase of 14.3 per cent compared to the month of February and a 37.9 per cent increase from the 1,766 active listings for sale a year previously at the end of March 2018.
The MLS Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in Greater Victoria decreased year-over-year by 2.8 per cent in March 2019 to $843,600. lower than February’s value of $845,900.
The MLS benchmark value for a condominium in Greater Victoria in March 2019 increased by 1 per cent year-over-year to $506,500, slightly higher than February’s value of $502,800.
“The mortgage stress test continues to put further pressure on lower-priced properties by reducing the borrowing power of many prospective buyers and pushing a lot of buyers into an already compressed price bracket with limited inventory,” said VREB. “This means that even though sales are slower than the peak in 2016, many buyers can expect to encounter multiple offer situations as competition increases at lower price points.”
The federal government recently announced a CMHC shared-equity mortgage program, which aims to reduce first time home buyer payments. However, this program applies only to properties $480,000 or less, and will put even more pressure on lower priced homes and condominiums.
“These current market dynamics make it increasingly important for our region to continue to find ways to create more affordable housing options to avoid price pressure on the lower-priced properties,” said VREB.