Real estate sales in the Greater Victoria region rose 12.3 per cent in May 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 (Black Press File).

Real estate sales in the Greater Victoria region rose 12.3 per cent in May 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 (Black Press File).

Greater Victoria real estate sales rose in May 2019 compared to May 2018

Some evidence of overall improvement in market

May offered a ray of light for the local real estate industry as sales rose year-to-year, according to new statistics from the Victoria Real Estate Board.

The stats show 848 properties sold in Greater Victoria, 12.3 per cent more than in May 2018. Month-to-month, sales rose 21.8 per cent from April 2019 to May 2019.

Cheryl Woolley, VREB’s president, said figures for May 2019 are lower when compared to previous Mays.

“Of course, this is not surprising given consumers are impacted by the … mortgage stress test, as well as ongoing lower inventory levels,” she said.

“Despite this, we have seen an increase in May for sales over last year. Prices remain strong in the lower price ranges, with little change in our benchmark prices when compared to last year.”

Writing on househuntvictoria.ca, local real estate expert Leo Spalteholz calls the development a “big change” after nearly 28 months of year-over-year sales declines.

“Does it mark a turn in the market?” he writes. “Is the correction over already?” Spalteholz does not think so, but his analysis also points towards several positives — at least from the perspective of buyers.

“There are about 29 [per cent] more properties on the market compared to this time last year, and encouragingly new listings are also up by eight [per cent],” he said. “That combined with sellers that are now adjusted to the new reality of the market and more willing to drop prices to make a sale makes it easier to be a buyer now than any time in the last few years.”

To underscore this point, he points to rising sales for single-family house, with the proviso that those increases are not necessarily indicative.

“So far this is well within the range that we’ve seen sales bounce around in for the last year and may just be a small bump based on the better interest rates we’ve seen recently,” Spalteholz said.

Prices are certainly more favourable than they were in the past (with the proviso) that they remain high.

VREB’s Home Price Index benchmark value for a single-family house in the Victoria Core in May 2019 was $860,800, down from $886,200 in May 2018. For a condominium, the HPI was $519,300 in May 2019, up from $506,100 in May 2018.

Single-family hoise prices in Victoria, meanwhile, topped $835,000 and $641,500 in Langford for May 2019. The most affordable real estate in Greater Victoria is available in Sooke, where a single family house cost $548,900 in May 2019, while Oak Bay recorded the most expensive, with a single-family home selling for $1.2 million.