Region among leaders in house sales

Region among leaders in house sales

Sooke real estate transactions not cooling off as new year begins

The trendiest neighbourhoods in Greater Victoria aren’t in the trendy neighbourhoods of Victoria or Oak Bay – but in Sooke.

Homes in Langford, East Saanich and Sooke are selling fast, according to data provided by the Victoria Real Estate Board.

Langford led the way in home sales with 45 in January, but 31 were sold in both Sooke and East Saanich last month. In comparison, 23 homes sold in Victoria and 15 in Oak Bay.

The average benchmark price of a Sooke home was $436,100. That price has risen by more than $80,000 in less than a year.

Yet in 2005, homes typically sold for $271,000 in Sooke.

A total of 478 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this January, 11.3 per cent fewer than the 539 properties sold in January last year.

Inventory levels edged lower, with 1,516 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service at the end of January 2017, 38.6 per cent fewer than the 2,471 active listings at the end of January 2016.

Realtor John Vernon said that low interest rates and population growth mean that more buyers than available homes, so most properties get snapped up fast.

“The hallmark is the availability of existing properties at a low that has not been seen in 30 years,” he said.

That’s great news for sellers who bought at a low price and can now reap the benefits of a hot market.

“We’ve seen higher prices here, or even bidding wars, because it’s about supply, said Sooke realtor Marlene Arden.

A recent listing, a three-bedroom single-family home in Sunriver Estates, sold in three days for almost $20,000 over asking with no conditions. The home sold for $517,000.

“Local realtors might say that’s a really aggressive price that person received, but you compare that with an in town listing and it’s reasonable,” Arden said.

Vernon, who has been a realtor in Sooke for 27 years, said the area’s affordability appears to be one of the biggest reasons why people are moving here.

He said most people moving into Sooke come from Greater Victoria, followed by the Lower Mainland, Alberta and other parts of Canada. There are few foreign buyers.

Buyers tend to sell their homes in more expensive markets, possible to find a place cheaper, less stressful with the opportunity to put some money in the bank

“It’s not that Sooke is just being discovered by people,” Vernon said. “People have been attracted to the area for years.”

But there’s a price to pay for affordability and quick sales, both realtors said.

Selling a house in a hot market is one thing, but making sure you have a new home to move into is another.

“You must have a plan. You may want to cash out and get a lot of money for your house, but where are you going to go from here,” Arden said.

“Unless you have a plan, you might not find the house you want and you might not end up with a house you like as much as the one you have now.”

“It’s not all about selling your house, but why are you selling.”