“Buyer Fatigue” in Victoria Suppressing August Home Sales

“Surprising” lack of inventory largely to blame for sluggish summer market, says board
Joannah Connolly
September 5, 2017

There were 736 property sales in the Greater Victoria region last month, 16.6% down from the 883 sold in August last year, the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) reported September 1.

Of those 736 units, 690 were residential, which is down 17.6 compared with August 2016 and 8.1% lower than July this year.

Considering the month-over-month decline in transactions seen the previous month was 22%, this suggests that the slowing of home sales could be tapering off.

August’s activity, like that of July, was almost exactly level with the same month two years ago – there were 695 home sales in August 2015.

VREB Aug '17

Active listings on the VREB Multiple Listing Service® were down 8.5% year over year, standing at 1,917 as of the end of August – a decrease of four properties compared to the month of July.

VREB president Ara Balabanian said, “I admit to being a little surprised by the August numbers. I expected inventory numbers to be climbing by now, but instead we’ve seen even lower numbers of listings on the market. This is likely leading to some buyer fatigue along with pressure on pricing in high-demand areas.”

Home Type Breakdown

There were 339 single-family home sales in Greater Victoria in August, which is down 17.7% year over year and 4.2% lower than July this year. A total of 78 townhomes exchanged hands in August – a monthly decline of 2.5% compared with July, but nearly 7% higher than a year ago. However, as the total figure is so small, it is much more susceptible to larger percentage changes than other property types.

Having had a hot spring, condo sales dropped another 15.2% in August, to 206 units, which is 22.3% lower than August last year.

The benchmark price of a single-family home in Greater Victoria increased 13.2% to $694,500, compared with $613,100 in August 2016. However, this was a 0.9% decline from July this year.

Townhome benchmark prices rose 17.2% year over year to $554,400, up 2.3% since July.

Condos saw the biggest annual price growth, with the new benchmark price of $435,200 a year-over-year jump of 21.9%, and a month-over-month rise of 0.5%.

“Though much too early to call a trend, we do see that the August HPI benchmark value for single family homes in the Victoria Core area has decreased by 1.3% when compared to July. This is the first time we’ve noted a decrease in HPI values since August 2015,” added Balabanian.

“That said, this is not an indicator of a huge change in property values across our region. We've seen a phenomenally busy two years in real estate for our area and we are likely heading towards a period of more balanced activity. Note too, that although the overall HPI value shows a small month-over-month decrease, specific areas and specific types of product have seen increases. For example, condominiums across the entire region are up by half a percent compared with the previous month and single-family homes in North Saanich have increased in benchmark value by almost 1%.”

For a visual overview of August's Victoria real estate market trends, see our detailed infographic below.

VREB Aug '17 Infographic

Home sales and prices vary widely throughout the Greater Victoria region. For detailed information, go to the full August 2017 VREB statistics package

Joannah Connolly
Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.