Victoria real estate: Fewer listings, fewer sales in October | Times Colonist

Fewer listings translated into a slow month of home sales in October, according to figures released Wednesday by the Victoria Real Estate Board.

There were 664 properties sold last month, a drop of nearly 10 per cent compared with the same time last year.

At the same time, there were 1,905 active listings for sale at the end of October, a 3.6 per cent drop compared to September and 1.7 per cent fewer than the 1,938 active listings for sale at the end of October 2016.

“As expected, we saw fewer sales than this time last year. Looking at the longer-term picture, however, sales last month were 17.1 per cent above the 10-year average of 567 properties for the month of October,” said board president Ara Balabanian. “So the market is still very active here in Victoria, and this is in spite of the ongoing low inventory levels.”

The benchmark value for a single-family home in the Victoria core last month was $821,900, a 9.3 per cent increase over the $752,000 benchmark value in October 2016.

“The fact that we’ve seen such a controlled levelling off in the market directly following a year which felt so uncontrollable in terms of demand and pressure on prices illustrates the depth and stability of the Victoria market,” said Balabanian. “An unstable market may have experienced a heavy correction or shift, whereas in our market sales are moderating at a reasonable rate.”

Historically speaking, the region’s pricing is unprecedented.

According to a survey conducted by Century 21, the price per square foot of a typical single-family home has increased 238 per cent over the past 10 years to more than $424.

The study gathered the price-per-square-foot for a typical home across the major towns and cities in Canada in 1997, 2006 and 2017.

According to Century 21, Victoria’s 10-year increases — 182 per cent for condos to $435 per square foot and 173 per cent to $354 per square foot for townhomes — was considered healthy.

“It has really changed. It gives you a snapshot of where you are living and Victoria, Vancouver and Toronto have seen some big increases,” said Chris Markham managing broker at Century 21 Queenswood.

The biggest increase was seen on the west side of Vancouver where the typical price per square foot — building and land — increased 400 per cent to $1,210.

Markham said the price point in Greater Victoria is a growing problem that is pushing young people out of the equation. He said the large number of condos that are under construction might help in terms of added supply and improving the 0.5 per cent rental vacancy rate, but might not do much in terms of price.

Markham cited increased building costs and scarcity of skilled trades as factors driving up cost.

He also noted foreign investment in homes and businesses has been great for spurring on growth, but it’s made getting into the housing market that much more difficult.

“[Foreign investment] goes to Vancouver, Vancouver comes to Victoria and we spin it up Island,” he said.

Foreign investment in the capital region remains fairly low, with just 4.3 per cent of all property transfers in the last six months involving foreign nationals.

Markham said the current market conditions are unprecedented, and it’s anyone’s guess when it will slow down. “I do think we are seeing more balance,” he said, noting the market is not building up its inventory but rather matching new listings with sales each month.

But he doesn’t think the market has seen the end of high prices and demand. “If you and I had talked a year ago, I’d have said be in cash and out of the market by the end of this year. But now what I’m seeing is there’s so much momentum that even if they jacked up interest rates and even if a bomb dropped there’s so much momentum I don’t see it dying. There’s too much already committed,” Marjham said, adding the unemployment rate remains low, interest rates are relatively low and in-migration continues.

The VREB said a balanced market will continue over the next few months as low inventory levels will match the traditional slowdown in buyer and seller behaviour.


The article was originally posted on Times Colonist, November 1, 2017. Written by Andrew A. Duffy.

 

Big Fat Deal: $10 million for a castle-like home near Victoria | BCBusiness

Each week, BCBusiness takes you inside one of the most outrageously upmarket real estate offerings in the province in their Big Fat Deal real estate blog.

Price: $9,990,000
Address: 9750 West Saanich Road, North Saanich
MLS: 336209
Listing agent: Peter Nash at Macdonald Realty Ltd. in Victoria

For those seeking a little ooo-la-la in their home life, try this French-inspired chateau sitting on a six-acre estate for size. Even its name ‘Chateau de Lis’ conjures up romance and elegance.

Better still, you don’t have to travel to Europe to find it. Located 30 minutes from downtown Victoria, North Saanich plays host to this 9,800-sq.-ft. residence, which was constructed in 2007.

La noblesse would surely feel at home here. As listing agent Peter Nash explains, the house has been “designed, crafted, engineered and built to a very high standard with great attention to quality and detail.” An exhaustive list of bespoke finishings dominate the house with plastered Italian tile ceilings, turrets, concrete surround with decorative sculptures, travertine fossil floors, custom-made gargoyles, imported antique chimney caps, Juliet balconies, a slate and copper roof, limestone and porcelain floors, and stained-glass windows.

And the gardens wouldn’t look out of place at the Palace of Versailles, either. Along with exquisite landscaping, manicured lawns, fountains, bridges, an orchard, and vegetable gardens comes one of the property’s other showcases: almost 300 feet of easy-access oceanfront and a prime westerly exposure with far-reaching views across the Saanich Inlet.

Beyond the old-world elegance are also two levels of luxurious living, incorporating modern desires such as a theatre room comprising a state-of-the-art projector and two-tier seating with plush leather seats. Of course no stately home would be complete without a wine cellar and this 1,000-bottle temperature-controlled one will not disappoint.

The great room and dining hall would impress even Louis XIV with lofty vaulted ceilings, carved fireplaces, murals and panoramic water views. The commercial-grade kitchen ups the ante with high-end appliances, including a concealed Sub-Zero fridge and freezer and a copper-hooded, vented pizza oven.

There is separate accommodation for guests—designed with the same flair as the main residence—and above the garages for six cars are, of course, those caretaker quarters. After all, what’s a chateau without staff?

This article was originally posted on BCBusiness, January 8, 2015.  Written by Nicole Way.

Nicola Way runs the property listing sites BestHomesBC.com and AssignmentsCanada.ca.

Dealing with Low Ball Offers on Homes

Real estate listing inventories in Greater Victoria have been relatively high in the past few months, so it comes as no great surprise to us that we are seeing more “Low Ball” offers in the market of late.

That being said, sales activity remains steady, albeit at a lower level than the frenetic pace set last year in the wake of low interest rates and an unwinding of demand left over from the financial crisis of late 2008 & early 2009.

When faced with more homes to choose from than usual in the current market, some buyers are starting to write very low offers in the hopes of “getting a deal”.  I used quotes there because in real estate, a “deal” means different things to different people; no two houses or lots are alike.

Resist the urge to walk away

Most people realize that real estate transactions usually involve a mix of logic, emotion and pride, on both sides of the transaction.  Those realizations usually fly right out the window for both the buyer (when writing the offer) and for the seller (when receiving the offer), even when the purchase price is not in “low ball” territory.

Your REALTOR® is there to help you not only with the legal, logistical and negotiating aspects of selling your home, but to also be a sounding board, an ally and your advisor for those times when emotions are running high!

If you receive a low offer on your home, do your best to limit your emotions & pride and do your best to focus on the facts.

It may help to keep in mind that even a low purchase price offer means that the buyer wants to buy your home.  Many buyers may prepare a really low offer because they are afraid they will pay too much, because they are trying to get an indication of where your expectations are, or simply because they think a low ball offer is normal business practice.

Unless the offer is ludicrously low, prepare to counter the offer to keep the buyer engaged and interested in your home, because, as mentioned, they have more than a passing interest in your house.

In the absence of multiple offers for your listing, consider countering a low ball offer with the price, conditions, closing dates and other details that you’re willing to accept.  If you choose to just ignore a low ball, you won’t ever know if there was a possibility of a low offer turning into a negotiated sale that leaves both parties happy!

Consider the comparable sales

Some buyers will provide a list of recent sales with their offer to attempt to justify a low offer price.  Your REALTOR® will be able to help you decide if those comparables are similar to your home, or not. If the sales in that list do represent similar homes to yours and are at lower prices, you may need to lower your price if you truly want to sell your home.

In the absence of a list of comparables from the buyer, your REALTOR® can also help you prepare a list of comparable sales to send back along with your counter offer that support your asking price.

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Blog post provided by Sean Farrell, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in Victoria.  Visit his website farrellgroup.ca for more information.