Oak Bay real estate shows signs of stability

Early retirees among the key demographic for Oak Bay buyers

Mike Boorman sees the Oak Bay market heading toward a good year of increased demand and low supply.

Mike Boorman sees the Oak Bay market heading toward a good year of increased demand and low supply.

As Oak Bay residents look toward spring and the peak real estate period, longtime local realtor Mike Boorman expects to see continued market stability in the municipality.

While late winter typically “is a planning time of year,” Boorman and many realtors are busy meeting with homeowners who plan to list their homes in the spring, and are using this time to get their homes looking their best. This is the time to tidy the garden, undertake any small repairs or upgrades, paint and declutter, and review marketing plans for spring, he explains. That way, “when spring hits, we can hit the ground running.”

When is the best time to list? “Personally, I recommend at the first sign of spring or just before Easter, provided a choice,” Boorman says, explaining that for families, a spring sale results in a summer closing in time to settle and be ready for school in September.

“However, with the low inventory in Oak Bay at present, now is a great time to beat the rush.”

At mid-January, there were 45 single-family listings in Oak Bay, 17 condominium listings and two townhouses, with three single-family sales recorded in the first two weeks of the year.

Through the year, “we typically see about twice this number on the market and can expect to see over 100 Oak Bay homes in the peak of the spring season,” Boorman says.

Coming off 2014, the Oak Bay market saw:

• 256 sales of single-family homes;

• an average sale price of $778,000;

• 63 sales over $1,000,000;

• 11 sales under $600,000;

• a highest sale of $4.6 million;

• a lowest sale of $425,000;

• the bulk of sales – 105 – in the $600,000 to $800,000 range.

Boorman expects the local market to continue in a similar manner, given the stability of Oak Bay real estate.

Homes in the municipality, known for its safety and the quality and consistency of its neighbourhoods and streetscapes, provide a secure real estate investment, he explains.

“When people drive through any area of Oak Bay, they see a consistency.”

Residents appreciate the recreation opportunities, the calibre of schools, the shopping and the proximity to both the waterfront and downtown.

“A really good day is when you can do everything and stay within the municipal borders. You can feel like you’ve done so much but you’ve remained in the community, and potentially all on foot.”

Who’s buying in Oak Bay? Early retirees from other cities and provinces are among the key demographics Boorman is seeing, plus existing homeowners relocating, either downsizing or up-sizing as their family grows.

“The word on the street among my realtor colleagues is it appears to be heading toward a good year of increased demand and low supply,” Boorman says.