Real estate dropped 19 per cent in August according to Victoria Real Estate Board. Notably, inventory like this house under construction off Shelbourne Avenue Wolf Depner / News Staff

Real estate sales across Greater Victoria dropped in August

Don’t panic. That is the message from Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) president Ara Balabanian in an interview with Saanich News after new figures showed that property sales in August dropped nearly 17 per cent compared to the same period last year.

“The numbers we are seeing are far from being low compared to the long term,” he said.

While the benchmark price for a single home in Victoria dropped 1.3 per cent in August compared to July, the benchmark value for the same home in August 2017 was 10.8 per cent higher than compared to August 2016.

So prices dropped slightly, but remain at a high plateau. In fact, some housing types actually countered the regional decline. Condominiums across the region and single family homes in North Saanich have increased in benchmark value by almost one per cent.

Sale figures also dropped in July. August’s decline does not signal a significant change in property values across the region, said Balabanian. After years of strong growth, such minor fluctuations appear inevitable and real estate remains a good long-term investment, with the emphasis on long-term, he said.

“For me, real estate is a long game,” he said.

Balabanian made these comments against the backdrop of larger economic developments that included a hike in interest rates, the second this year.

Canada’s overnight interest rate is now one per cent. The rate determines the lending rate on mortgages among other financial instruments. Balabanian said the interest rate hike is not good news for first-time home buyers. But he also added that interest rates remain at historically low levels.

He also tried to ease concerns that the interest rate hike was a harbinger of a popping housing bubble that could trigger a massive economic downturn.

Victoria’s economic profile as the provincial capital, popular tourism destination and emerging high-tech sector promises to temper any negative development, he said.

“I’m not saying that world is going to fall apart,” he said. “But we are less susceptible to sudden changes in the global economy.”

In fact, Victoria recently joined Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto as one of only four Canadian cities with an average net worth of over $1 million.

Overall, the VREB recorded 1,917 active listings for August 2017, a drop of four properties compared to July. Compared to August 2016, the number of listings dropped 8.5 per cent from 2,094 active listings.

Notably, Balabanian said the number of listing surprised him. “I expected inventory numbers to be climbing by now, but instead we’ve seen even lower number of listings on the market. This is likely leading to some buyer fatigue along with pressure on pricing high-demand areas.”

Would-be sellers, in other words, are staying put. That is not to say though that they have lost confidence in the strength of the market, said Balabanian. In some cases, they are struggling to find other homes.

Just Posted

Man flees Bay Centre after daytime sexual assault in downtown Victoria

The suspect physically and sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl shopping with a friend

Chinese New Year takes to the streets of Victoria

Hundreds brave chilly temperatures to usher in the Year of the Dog

Storm snuffs out lights on Saanich’s Ten Mile Point

Environment Canada wind warning calls for a brief “respite” before winds of up 90 kilometres resume

Sidney fire fighters get their first truck back

After years of neglect, the truck is running just fine

Sidney’s taxes going up this year

Town calls increase “modest,” represent a $34/year jump for the average household

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

VIDEO: Protesters rally for affordable housing ahead of B.C. budget

Residents call on province to keep locals housed

School shooting unfathomable to Saanich student

Claremont Grade 10 student reflects on the carnage inflicted on U.S. schools

#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has angered men

Liberals to dig deeper, aim higher on gender equality in 2018 federal budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the budget would include measures to boost women in the workforce

Vancouver Island’s Teal Harle finishes fifth in Olympic Men’s Slopestyle skiing

‘I’ve definitely surpassed every expectation I had for the Games’ – Harle

Body of missing skier found

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

Most Read