While many sectors in Greater Victoria continue to struggle amid the pandemic, one is flourishing. Real Estate.
“June was very busy,” said real estate agent Sarah Binab of The Agency in Victoria. “At the beginning of the year the market was going quite quickly until the pandemic, but it seemed like things have just picked right back off where we left in March and we’ve been quite busy.”
President of the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) Sandi-Jo Ayers says buyers just were not able to make a move in March or April, and that now is the time.
“Our June numbers were amazing compared to last June, lots of pent up activity for the last 60-90 days as people were locked down,” said Ayers.
And last month Victoria hit a milestone, that home buyers might not want to hear-the average selling cost of a home broke a million dollars.
How did this happen in the middle of a pandemic? Realtors say its actually because of COVID-19.
“People are seeing that we were stand-up paddleboarding, cycling through town, lots of walks and being relaxed throughout this time where other places in the world were still dealing with winter weather and we’ve just proven how desirable Victoria really is,” says Binab.
She says more than 50 per cent of The Agency’s sales in June were from out-of-province buyers, especially from places like Toronto, where home prices are higher, and the weather is colder.
The real estate agents says people from across North America are wanting to stay in a comfortable city with warm, year-round weather if a second wave of COVID-19 hits.
But it’s not just the agreeable weather and ocean views inspiring buyers.
“I think the pandemic has really made people rethink their timing and maybe instead of retiring in a few years they’re thinking of an early retirement because if this happens again, where else would you want to be?” prodded Binab.
This June the housing market is actually beating out last year’s numbers, with 808 properties sold compared to 740 in June of 2019, a 9.2 per cent spike, according to the VREB.
Even though the VREB says the average selling cost in Greater Victoria has topped a million dollars at $1,014,746, the actual benchmark value of a home in Greater Victoria is $896,200. An increase of 1.2 percent compared to the month before.
“This year we had a number of properties that were sold over 2 million,” said Ayers. “We had a number of properties that were sold over the $2 million mark. Twenty-two were over $2 million and 6 were over $3 million. When you look at just the average, those high luxury homes are going to skew the average.”
So even though the market slumped for a couple of months, it seems to be back on track and stronger than ever.
‘”The pandemic has shown that we are really in our own bubble, Victoria is a really special place to be,” said Binab.