Some Oak Bay real estate agents were a little concerned when the typical post-winter housing market upswing took a while to materialize.
Patience has paid off for buyers, sellers and realtors alike, however, as the market showed better than expected results for a typically slower period of the year, summer holiday time.
“It was an interesting spring,” said realtor Cassie Kangas of DFH Realty. “Winter was kind of busy right out of the gate, then spring took a long time to take off – then suddenly at the beginning of summer there were a whole lot of listings.”
Figures released by the Victoria Real Estate Board last week showed significant improvement over the previous year. Last month 609 properties were sold, a 12-per-cent increase over the 540 sold in August 2013.
It’s not just a summer blip: year-to-date sales for the region are running at a 10.5-per-cent better clip than by this time in 2013.
“We are seeing a trend and I hope the momentum carries us through to the end of the year,” said Kangas.
September, usually after school begins in earnest, is when things typically kick into gear again after the late-summer lull. While it’s uncertain whether the teacher’s strike has affected the decisions of some people to buy or sell their home all indications are that the market will continue to be brisk.
“There are a couple of different factors. If the school strike gets resolved that might change things. I have a listing right now in Rockland and a few families have come through but they’re reluctant to make a decision right now,” said Kangas.
The word balanced continues to come up in descriptions of the market, a scenario in which neither buyers nor sellers have a distinct advantage. The absence of pricing pressures caused by a lack of supply – which caused bidding wars in past – coupled with still-low mortgage rates, has been key to maintaining that trend.
“Interest rates are still really good. All the signs are that this will go on in a good, stable way,” said Kangas.
While specific figures for Oak Bay are not available, the Home Price Index benchmark price for a typical single family home in Greater Victoria was $491,500, $4,600 more than last year. Despite a temporary glut of supply in the local condominium market as development projects have come on stream, the benchmark prices for condos and townhouses have both risen by about 2.5 per cent in the past year.
Kangas said the inventory for some types of housing in Oak Bay is currently low. “There are not a lot of ranchers, we need good family homes, and surprisingly there’s not a lot of condos listing in certain areas of Oak Bay.”
With that said, she added, now is a good time to list your house. “If somebody is sitting on the fence, now’s the time to sell,” she said. “A lot of people think spring is the best time to sell your house. Now we have fewer homes, but we have just as many buyers as we did in the spring. The fall market here – with our milder weather – goes through right to December.”