Greater Victoria helped to lead a resurgence in real estate sales in February.
According to new figures from the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA), sales in February 2020 rose by 26.3 per cent compared to February 2019, as 5,741 homes changed owners. The average sales price also rose 12 per cent to $758,863 in February 2020 with the total value of sales rising 41.4 per cent to $4.4 billion.
Looking at specific regions, the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) recorded 563 sold properties sold, an increase of 33.7 per cent compared to February 2019 and 37 per cent increase compared to January 2020. Sales of condominiums were up 35.7 per cent from February 2019 with 175 units sold, while sales of single family homes increased 23.7 per cent from January 2020 with 271 sold.
Sandi-Jo Ayers, president of the said February saw what she called “the bloom of an early spring market” with sales “up substantially” from last year. With the increase, sales figures are within less than five per cent of VREB’s long-term average for the month, she added.
With higher sales, local prices have also risen. The so-called Home Price Index (HPI) benchmark value for a single family home in Greater Victoria rose by 4.3 per cent to $767,000 in February 2020.
Looking across the region, Langford recorded the highest number of single-family homes sold (41) in February 2020 for a total value of $31.7 million. Saanich (East) recorded the second-highest number of single-family homes sold (40) for a total of $40.5 million, followed by Victoria with 32 single-family homes sold for a total value of $32 million. Victoria, not surprisingly, led all Greater Victoria in condo sales with 76 for a total value of $38.3 million.
Oak Bay remains the most expensive terrain in Greater Victoria, according to VREB, with an HPI of $1.21 million for a single-family home, while the Malahat region is the most affordable region of Greater Victoria with an HPI of $568,900 for a single-family home.
Looking at the two largest municipalities, the HPI for a single family home in Victoria is $838,700 and $885,700 in Saanich (East) and $759,300 in Saanich (West). HPIs on the Westshore range from $675,700 in Langford to $703,200 in Colwood, from $848,600 in the Highlands to $967,700 in Metchosin.
On the Saanich Peninsula, North Saanich records the HPI with $941,000, followed by Central Saanich with $762,800 and Sidney with $663,500.
Looking across the province, Greater Victoria led the way with an increase of 44.5 per cent, according to BCREA, followed by the Fraser Valley with 36 per cent. Areas with declining sales include the northern regions of British Columbia.
So what accounts for the increase in sales? Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA’s chief economist, points to lower mortgage rates and relaxed mortgage qualifying rules. But if these factors “may provide a boost to home sales heading into the spring,” he also warns of “significant economic uncertainty lingering over the outlook.”
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