When Tammi Dimock looks at the Sooke real estate market, she sees the opportunity to become a first-time homeowner narrowing.
As a real estate agent for the past 30 years, the Sooke woman says it’s in her job description to be optimistic about the future, but she’s finding it hard. In 2020, the average selling price for a single-family home was $670,000, 7.2 per cent higher than 2019 figures at $625,000.
There were only 107 active listings in Sooke, 44 of them being vacant land, according to MLS figures from Dec. 30, 2020. In total, that makes 63 properties for single-family homes, condos, duplexes, townhomes or apartments – 27 of those are single-family homes.
In an average year, Dimock said they would have between 250 to 300 active listings in Sooke during the same time.
“I worry about the next generation of young adults,” she said.
“At this rate, they’re never going to make it into the market. If it means that sellers will see prices rise another four per cent, I hope to God not. I worry that we’re making the future a more elitist place to own a house.”
Oliver Katz, a Sooke realtor since 1999, said that although the market “dropped off the face of the Earth” during the first wave of the pandemic, sales have since picked back up and made for lost time.
Sooke closed out 2020 with 533 sold properties. According to MLS stats, 299 of those were single-family homes compared to 333 single-family homes in 2019 on Dec. 23, 2020.
“With roads improving and development phases continuing in the next 15 to 20 years, Sooke has been drawing people from all parts of Island and the rest of the province too,” said Katz. “People are searching for places where there is that small-town beauty with proximity to big-box shopping, airports and more.”
With “virtually no inventory” that has carried since the summer months, Katz predicts an increased buyer presence going into the spring market.
Dimock said that prospective buyers tend to act recklessly when the market is scarce.
She finds that there are bidding wars, overpaying and hasty sales without proper home inspections. She pointed out that the most attractive thing to a seller is a clean contract that doesn’t depend on addendums or negotiations.
“I don’t like playing that game of real estate.”
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