Low interest rates are helping agents attract buyers and investors in a market full of fence-sitters.
“We’ve certainly seen the busy spring market continue into the summer months,” Guy Crozier, president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, told REP in an email. “The theme of declining listings and increased sales volume is consistent through July, and we're seeing the market go through its typical summer cycle.”
For Ron Neal, a real estate agent with Re/Max in Victoria, July has been his busiest month for his brokerage since 2007. Neal recently had a couple from Vancouver who were looking to cash out and buy a more affordable property in Victoria.
“They were coming back and forth from Vancouver to Victoria to see properties and after losing out on the first three houses they saw, they bought another high-end home without having looked at it,” said Neal, who got the couple’s business from colleague referrals.
The couple bought the house in Victoria for $1.6-million after having sold their home in Vancouver for more than $2 million.
This is scenario that is becoming more and more popular as people look to enter the market quickly while interest rates are low; agents are having to work to satisfy these types of clients. And they are.
According to the new stats from the Victoria Real Estate Board, 796 properties were sold in July, which is up 16.9 per cent compared to July 2014 when the number was 681 homes sold. The strong pace of price appreciation and sales follow one of the strongest years on record for the Victoria area in 2014.
The average price for a home rose 6.3 per cent to $599,800 compared to $564,300 in July 2014. That growth comes on the heels of strong demand from homebuyers and retirees from Alberta looking for a second property.
Victoria is also seeing a strong contingent of foreign buyers from China, America, the Middle East and elsewhere, attracted by education opportunities and a relatively strong job market.
Some of the city’s hottest areas where agents are seeing the most demand include James Bay, Fairfield and Oak Bay, which has seen the highest source of demand from all buyers, according to the Greater Victoria Real Estate Board.
In fact, people aren’t just finding comfort with affordable properties in the area, but agents are also cashing in on luxury real estate sales as well with 41 high-end homes sold for a $1-million or more.
“Consumer confidence remains very strong and shows no sign of falling off in the coming months. Interest rates continue to be very favourable; many buyers are taking advantage and making a move,” Crozier said.