West Coast city proves Canada isn’t just Vancouver, Toronto

by Olivia D'Orazio05 Feb 2015
A large West Coast city is proving that the real estate market is significantly steadier outside of Canada’s larger metropolitan areas.

Victoria posted moderate sales increases in January – sales rose 2.5 per cent year-over-year to 351 properties sold during the month. The number of listings, meanwhile, fell 5.9 per cent to 3,283 in January, from 3,489 properties for sale in January 2014.

"We don't expect to see big numbers in January,” said Guy Crozier, the president of the Victoria Real Estate Board. “It's a slower month traditionally for real estate. Even this slight increase after the 11.67% year over year increase in sales we saw in 2014 shows the continued stability of our market.

“There's also a good balance of inventory available for sale, which will likely appeal to buyers as the spring season hits. Last month while we saw 10 single family homes sold for over a million dollars, there were also 95 homes sold for under $500,000."

That compares to nearby Vancouver, where the average sale price of a detached single-family home is over $1 million. The average sale price in Victoria also increased, rising 2.4 per cent to $561,600.

But some real estate watchers say cities like Victoria could soon lose their statuses as “best-kept secrets” in real estate. As neighbouring major markets – like Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary – becoming increasingly unaffordable, more buyers are looking to these communities to maximize the amount of house they can get for their budgets.

Plus, lower lending rates could further propel buyers into these traditionally stable markets.

"With the change in mortgage rates surprising some, and the continuing low oil prices and Canadian dollar,” Crozier said, “the spring real estate market should be an interesting one to watch."

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