Real estate sales drop across Greater Victoria amid rising interest rates

Real estate sales drop across Greater Victoria amid rising interest rates

After years of a housing market upswing, there seems to be a downturn in housing sales across the Greater Victoria region.

According to new data from the Victoria Real Estate Board, overall property sales fell to 407 sales in October, a 15.2 per cent drop compared to the same time last year. This is also a 17.4 per cent drop from September 2023.

The figure is well below the 10-year average of 657 sales in October.

Experts are attributing the drop to some of the highest interest rates they’ve seen in 20 years.

Tony Joe, broker and owner with REMAX Island Properties, told CHEK News a lot of agents have said their buyers are taking a break.

“They’re waiting,” Joe said. “They have the hope that maybe interest rates will change perhaps in the new year, maybe in the spring or a little bit later as well.”

The central bank held maintained its key interest rate at five per cent, but didn’t rule out future hikes amid rising inflation rate projections.

Last month, 193 single-family homes were sold, a 16.1 per cent drop from October 2022. Condo sales fell 7.2 per cent to 141.

Average prices

While the number of sales dropped, prices remained steady.

The benchmark price for a single-family home in Greater Victoria’s core, Victoria, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Saanich and View Royal, steadied at about $1.3 million, compared with $1.31 million in September.

The benchmark for a condo unit in the same region was $582,500, a slight drop from September’s $584,500.

“If anything, it’s really just coming to something a little more balanced,” Joe explained. “It’s refreshing for us in the real estate industry to see that because it gives buyers chances and it enables them to also do their due diligence and take their time in the purchase where that was really tough for a long time.”

One stat that saw a dramatic increase was the number of active listings.

At the end of October there were 2,756 units on the market across the region.

That’s a 2.1 per cent per cent increase from September and a whopping 25.7 per cent jump from the 2,192 active listings at the end of October 2022.

Joe said more units are being added every day, especially since the province made changes to the short-term rental regulations.

READ MORE: B.C. to bring in new rules on short-term rentals to create more housing

“In the last seven days there’s been 55 new condo listings, and in the last 14 days there’s been 85  condo listings, of which around 33 are identified short-term vacation rental properties typically,” Joe explained.

He said this gives buyers even more inventory choices which hasn’t happened in a while.

Mackenzie ReadMackenzie Read

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