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Local buyers keep Victoria housing market steaming

House prices now third-highest in Canada though out-of-province, foreign buyers have virtually vanished
New home construction in Colwood, Greater Victoria. | Darren Stone, Times Colonist

Continued high demand and a dearth of buying options continues to drive the price of single-family homes in Greater Victoria, according to numbers released Monday by the Victoria Real Estate Board.

The benchmark price of a home in the region rose in January 2021 to $839,800, up from $828,400 in December and well over the $758,000 mark set in January 2020.

The average selling price of a single-family home in Greater Victoria topped $1.22 million in January, up from $953,190 in January 2020.

Victoria now has the third-highest home prices in Canada, behind only Vancouver and Toronto.

“The competition for sparse inventory has pushed both pricing and activity up and has created the very fast-paced market that we’ve been experiencing for the past several months,” said real estate board president David Langlois

Langlois said a suite of factors ranging from historically low interest rates, people moving up their retirement plans, renters wanting to own because of the low cost of borrowed money all the way to people just getting excited about real estate have contributed to fueling the pace of the market.

“All the potential demand factors we could have in a position to drive demand are going full-steam ahead,” he said.

Last month 646 properties changed hands in Greater Victoria up from the 631 in December and 57 per cent more than in January of last year when there were 411.

Langlois also noted the higher end of the market has been doing brisk business; last month there were 25 sales of homes worth more than $2 million

Home-grown sales are driving the market, according to the board. Of 8,224 sales in 2020, 90.9 per cent involved buyers already living in B.C., with the vast majority, 73.43 per cent, coming from within Greater Victoria.

Those numbers are very close to the sales percentages in 2019, when 90.7 per cent of 7,218 sales were to buyers from B.C. and 74 per cent were from Victoria.

There was an increase in activity from the Lower ­Mainland last year with just over 9.4 per cent of buyers coming from that region, compared with 7.7 per cent in 2019. Last year 2.6 per cent of all buyers were from other parts of the province’s mainland, about the same percentage as in the year previous.

While many Victoria real estate agents said they have been working with buyers from across Canada over the last year, less than 8 per cent of all recent sales were to buyers living in other provinces. Only 1.2 per cent of all sales in the region last year were to buyers residing outside of Canada.