Real estate numbers in Greater Victoria tumble in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

Real estate numbers in Greater Victoria tumble in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
WatchWe're getting our first look at the challenges COVID-19 is creating for Victoria's real estate market. Homes sales are down, listings are down. And experts say the numbers are lower than expected. Mary Griffin reports.

Realtors are finding new ways to sell properties during the pandemic, including video tours of properties.

But what they aren’t finding is a lot of buyers. COVID-19 has pushed Greater Victoria’s real estate market off a cliff. Compared to April of last year, overall real estate sales are down by 59 per cent.  Single-family home sales are down by 56 per cent.

And condo sales dropped by a massive 64 per cent.  The average price of a single-family home is down by $4,458.  The biggest tumble is condo prices, down $49,797.

B.C.’s finance minister, Carole James, doesn’t see any improvement anytime soon.

“I don’t think anyone has seen the real estate market making any kind of changes except to continue to be quiet, and not have activity going on. Partly because of the restrictions. And partly because people are paying attention,” James said.

Despite the worst sales numbers since the 2008 recession, the Victoria real estate board‘s president, Sandi-Jo Ayers,  is trying to be optimistic but admits the market is in an unprecedented situation.

“I think we’re going to see some more activity. I think, hopefully, we’re at the bottom here during the month of April. That would be my hope. Again, not 100 per cent sure,” Ayers said.

Sales in April were 53 per cent down from March. The reality is hitting home that unless things change, it’s going to get worse, according to The Condo Group’s co-owner Tony Zarsadias.

“It’s not so bad right now. But if the economy is slow for a long time, and people can’t get back to work, then I anticipate the market is going to shift quite quickly,” Zarsadias said.

While the world is slowing down, the market is also slowing down. The question now is how long could this slide last.

READ MORE: Feds to unveil rent relief for businesses forced to shut down during pandemic

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