Home sales slower than anticipated

With the world economy in a depressed state and no obvious end in sight, it is affecting local home sales. People are finding that things are tightening up and banks are less likely to approve the same mortgage amounts as they did previously.

Realtor Shayne Fedosenko, with 21 years of experience in the market, says things are pretty slow in Sooke. This is due to a variety of reasons, one of them being high property taxes, the HST on new homes, and changes in the lending practices of banks.

“After 21 years in the business, I have never seen it this slow, hopefully it will turn around after the election is over,” said Fedosenko. He said in election years it is always slower.

Looking at the April figures for 2010 and 2011 it is obvious. There is a difference iof almost $100 million in sales between the dates.

In April 2010 Sooke sales of single family homes was fourth highest in the Greater Victoria area and in 2011, while still fourth, the sales were down over $5 million.

While there are plenty of homes on the market, the banks aren’t lending the same amounts of money on home equity.

Fedosenko also feels that because the District of Sooke has not dealt with secondary suites, this has curtailed sales in the district. He compares Sooke to Langford where they  have legalized suites resulting in greater sales of homes containing suites.

Sales of lots are also slow but Fedosenko says that with the attached development cost charges and related costs people are purchasing building lots elsewhere.

As an example, the 2010 April sales figures, from the Victoria Real Estate Board, show 14 lots sold in Sooke for a total of $2.3 million and in 2011 there were four sales totaling $536,000. There were zero condo sales in April 2011.

He also said a lot of homeowners are “stuck” unable to sell their properties for what they need to get to upgrade. People are lowering their prices though, which makes it a good market for the buyer.

The latest numbers indicate that while sales were steady in May they were down from May of last year.

Victoria Real Estate Board president Dennis Fimrite, noted that market activity so far this year is considerably slower than in the same period a year ago.

“Sales so far this year are running nearly 21 per cent behind last year’s levels.”

The average price for single family homes rose slightly in May although the six month average fell. Prices for townhomes and condominiums declined

May sales of residential single family homes in Sooke – 23, with the lowest average price in the Greater Victoria region of $368,480; townhouses sales – 3, average price $343,744; manufactured home sales – 3, average price $36,000; lots and acreage sales – 2, average