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A slow start to the year may not foretell the future for the Victoria housing market

February 1, 2023 

A total of 278 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this January, 41.4 per cent fewer than the 474 properties sold in January 2022 and a 13.1 per cent decrease from December 2022. Sales of condominiums were down 46.3 per cent from January 2022 with 101 units sold. Sales of single family homes decreased 33 per cent from January 2022 with 120 sold.

"If you're looking at the statistics, this January was one of the slowest we've seen on record," says 2023 Victoria Real Estate Board Chair Graden Sol. "However, we did see a mid-month surge in activity as buyers seemed to regain confidence after the rapid interest rate increases of last year. It may be that consumers are moving past the market shock of the rate increases and economic uncertainty and that our market is regaining its equilibrium. What the data doesn't show is the optimism that many of our REALTOR® members are noting from their buyers and sellers, who remain active viewing homes and making offers. Interest rates, continued low inventory and the greater economic situation in our area will determine what our early spring market will look like."

There were 1,739 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of January 2022, an increase of 3 per cent compared to the previous month of December and a 133.7 per cent increase from the 744 active listings for sale at the end of January 2021.

"Despite the slower start to the market in January, and our constrained inventory levels, some consumers still found themselves in multiple offer situations, particularly on the types of properties that represent the crucial missing middle segment of our market. The Victoria City Council voting to move forward with their missing middle housing program is a great step in the right direction when we are considering how low inventory has impacted the attainability of housing in the CRD," adds Sol. "But this is one step in a marathon of work to be done to increase housing opportunities to meet our community's short- and long-term needs. Each municipality must keep their focus on adding gentle density where they can so that we do not face another swift increase in values when our market demand increases again."

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in January 2022 was $1,296,600. The benchmark value for the same home in January 2023 decreased by 3.5 per cent to $1,251,100, down from December's value of $1,283,600. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in January 2022 was $561,300, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in January 2023 increased by 3 per cent to $578,300, up from the December value of $574,300.

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Know the Local Market when You Sell

Are you thinking of selling your home this year? If so, you might be paying extra attention to housing market news covered by the regional and national media.

 While that news can be helpful information, it can sometimes say little about what’s happening in your particular neighbourhood. In fact, it’s possible for there to be a balanced market nationally or regionally, while at the same time your street may be experiencing a hot seller’s market!

 That’s why it’s important to understand what’s happening in your local “micro” housing market when you’re selling your home.

 What do you need to know about your local real estate scene? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Is our neighbourhood a seller’s, buyer’s, or balanced market right now?
  • If we list our home this month, will there be any competing listings in our area? If so, how many?
  • How long is the average listing in our area taking to sell? A week? A month?
  • How much are properties like ours in the neighbourhood selling for?
  • How desirable is our neighbourhood? How many buyers are actively looking to move here? Are there currently buyers eager to purchase a home like ours?
  • What are the demographics of buyers looking to buy in our neighbourhood?
  • How important is it to fix up and stage my home if I decide to sell?

Getting these local insights will be far more helpful than the national news when you put your property on the market. So, find out what’s happening right here, in your neighbourhood.

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Showing your Home on Short Notice

Unless you’re selling in a strong sellers’ market, you should take advantage of every opportunity to show your home. Say, for example, an interested buyer would like to see your property tomorrow evening. If you say no, they might see another listing in the meantime — and make an offer!

 So, being prepared to show your home at the drop of a hat is important.

That doesn’t mean you should agree to be inconvenienced constantly. However, if you can put up with some disruptions in your plans now and then, you’ll increase your chances of selling your property.

 Consider these tips:

  • Avoid restricting showings to a particular weekday, such as Monday evening and Saturday afternoon. What if an interested buyer isn’t available those days?
  • Try to keep your home clean and tidy. That way, you can accommodate a short-notice request to see your listing more easily. (Consider temporarily hiring a cleaner.)
  • Make a list of places you can take your family (including pets) on short notice. For example, a park or movie.

Want more tips for selling your home quickly and for top dollar? Call today.

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Showcasing the Unique Features of your Property

Imagine you’re at the grocery store shopping for oranges. Two brands are available: the “Amazing Orange” and the “Super Orange.” Which would you choose to buy?

Chances are, you wouldn’t decide based on their similarities. For example, since both oranges contain vitamin C, using that as a buying criteria wouldn’t help you choose between them. Instead, you would probably look for differences. What does one brand have that the other does not? Maybe one is less expensive, organically farmed, or is seedless!

When people make buying decisions, they often look for differences.

So, if you’re thinking of selling your property, highlighting its unique and desirable features — its differences from comparable homes — is crucial.

How do you do that?

The first step is to make a list of those special features you want buyers to notice. Those might include a new and spacious deck, extra high ceilings, a finished basement, move-in readiness, and other characteristics.

Next, you want to make sure those features are emphasized in marketing materials and when staging your home.

There are many ways to emphasize features through staging. For example, if the deck is a desirable feature, ensure it’s well-lit in the evenings (for afterdusk viewings.) Also, make it easy to see when buyers are in your home, by having the curtains pulled back.

You may be able to explore other ways to ensure buyers notice and appreciate the deck too.

Differences make a difference! Show them off when selling.

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4 Ways to Find the Time to Sell your Home

Are you thinking about selling your home this spring? If so, one factor that may be holding you back is time. You might be worried that you won’t find the time in your busy schedule to sell your property successfully.

If so, here are four strategies that will help:

1. Understand what needs to be done
Do you know what you’ll need to do to sell your home? Do you understand the steps involved? Do you have a clear idea of how long it will take to complete various tasks, like getting repairs done and doing some “staging”?

The more accurately you can anticipate your tasks and how long it will take to complete them, the better you’ll be able to plan and schedule.

2. Keep a “moving” calendar
It’s a known time management fact that using a calendar and blocking out time for tasks will ultimately save you time. So, use your calendar, or create a new one just for moving-related items. With an up-to-date calendar in place, you’ll always have a view of what needs to be done and how those tasks fit into your weekly schedule.

Maintaining a moving calendar also reduces stress.

3. Ask for advice
How should you stage your main floor? Should you make any home improvements? How should you prepare for a buyer coming to view your property?

You don’t need to guess or Google. Get professional advice. Doing so will expose you to the most current best practices and will save you time.

4. Hire help
You don’t need to do everything on your own. Instead, consider hiring professionals to do at least some of the work for you. For example, hire a painter, a lawn mowing service or a dog walker.

Hiring professionals during the selling period can save you countless hours. And, those costs may be offset by the sale of your home.

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The 2022 Victoria Real Estate Market Year in Review
January 3, 2023  A total of 320 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this December, 26.9 per cent fewer than the 438 properties sold in December 2021 and a 16.7 per cent decrease from November 2022. Sales of condominiums were down 38.2 per cent from December 2021 with 94 units sold. Sales of single family homes decreased 24.6 per cent from December 2021 with 156 sold.

A grand total of 6,804 properties sold over the course of 2022, 32.3 per cent fewer than the 10,052 that sold in 2021. 2022 sales came closest to 2014's sales year when 6,698 properties were sold.

"We began the year with record low inventory, and with higher than average sales," says 2022 Victoria Real Estate Board President Karen Dinnie-Smyth. "And then the market changed on a dime. Interest rate increases through the remainder of 2022 signalled the end of low-cost borrowing and pushed buyers to the sidelines. Each time interest rates went up, market activity slowed. As we head into 2023, we continue to see the cost of moving and borrowing money undermine demand. Slower sale activity has resulted in inventory levels rebounding from historic lows, which means there are more opportunities for buyers in our market this year than in recent years."

There were 1,688 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of December 2022, a decrease of 20 per cent compared to the previous month of November but a 158.9 per cent increase from the 652 active listings for sale at the end of December 2021.

"The new year begins with the federal government's ban on foreign buyers," adds President Dinnie-Smyth. "This is a disappointing politically motivated action in the theme of government trying to slow demand, rather than addressing the more lengthy and less politically popular process of building more housing supply. The cost of housing is unlikely to be affected by this ban because we know from the government's own data that foreign buyers represent only a handful of transactions in our region in recent years. At the provincial government level, legislation began today for the cooling-off period, now referred to as the Home Buyer Recission Period. The Victoria market has already cooled off, which leaves this legislation at least a year out of date and toothless in terms of public protection, as standard condition terms are often longer than the three-day legislated term. Victoria REALTORS® support policies that provide housing that British Columbians can afford, and we are pleased to see some of our municipalities considering innovative builds that can help with this. Will 2023 be the year that the housing supply chain will be front and center on all levels of government agendas? If we fail to encourage new development now, we will have another supply shortfall in an upcoming market cycle which will lead to pressure on pricing. New government rules further complicate real estate transactions - so if you are buying or selling in 2023 - be sure to call your favourite Realtor for guidance."

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in December 2021 was $1,262,600. The benchmark value for the same home in December 2022 increased by 1.7 per cent to $1,283,600, down from November's value of $1,307,100. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in December 2021 was $544,100, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in December 2022 increased by 5.6 per cent to $574,300, down from the November value of $587,800.
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How Buyers Often Find Out about your Listing

There are many ways buyers can find out about your home for sale. Some will see the lawn sign. Others will notice the listing on MLS. Still others might find out via an advertisement or social media post.

But, there is one other way buyers will discover your listing — and it can be pivotal to the success of your sale.

The agent can make sure they know.

In some cases, buyers shopping for a particular type of home, or those who are targeting a specific neighbourhood, will get on an agent’s alert system. The agent will arrange for the buyers to be alerted as soon as an ideal property comes up on the market. That’s why being strategic when creating an MLS profile and other listing materials is so important. You want interested buyers to be notified of your listing!

Agents often also have a network of buyers they are in touch with regularly or who are actively looking to buy a home. They reach out to these contacts as soon as a desired property is listed. Say, for example, you put your property on the market. The agent you work with may already have some qualified buyers in mind. If so, that increases the chances of your home selling quickly and for a top price.

Good agents also have a robust network of professional contacts — such as real estate lawyers, contractors, and even other agents — that they can potentially tap to find qualified buyers.

Overall, well-connected agents are more likely to be able to leverage their networks to attract ideal buyers to your listing.

Want to discuss how I can attract high-interest, qualified buyers to your listing? Call me.

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Painting Tips for Getting the Job Done Faster

Unless painting a room is a passion, you probably want to finish the task as soon as possible — while still doing a quality job. Here are some tips for doing just that:

• One-coat paints. Having to do a second coat is time-consuming. Fortunately, there are several “one coat” paints that can get the job done, well, in one coat! They don’t work for every type of project. But, if your walls are in good condition and you’re not dramatically changing the underlying colour, a one-coat paint is worth considering.

• Leverage various-sized rollers. Most people use rollers for the main wall surface and switch to brushes for the tight areas. Instead of a brush, try a smaller roller. That can speed up the painting considerably.

• Use quality brushes and rollers. Cheap brushes tend to not hold paint evenly and can also shed fibres – which you then have to pick off the painted surface. Good quality brushes and rollers may cost a little more, but the paint will be applied more smoothly and evenly — saving you time.

• Wear your painter’s tape. When running painter’s tape to prep a room, wear the roll on your wrist. That way, you won’t constantly be reaching for it.

• Wrap rollers and brushes in plastic. For longer painting jobs, wrap rollers and brushes that are not in use in plastic wrap or baggies (the kind you use in the kitchen.) That will keep the brushes and rollers wet while you take a break.

• Start in the middle. Most people start at the end of a wall and work their way to the center. You’ll paint faster if you do the opposite. In addition, you’ll avoid applying too much paint in the corners (which people are apt to do when they start there).

Want more tips for preparing your home for sale? Call me.

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Victoria Real Estate Board Market Report for November 2022

A total of 384 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this November, 41.2 per cent fewer than the 653 properties sold in November 2021 and 20 per cent fewer than in October 2022. Sales of condominiums were down 42.4 per cent from November 2021 with 136 units sold. Sales of single family homes decreased 34.1 per cent from November 2021 with 182 sold.

“November saw a significant decrease from last year in the number of home sales recorded, but this was expected as the market continues to settle after the record setting pace of 2021,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Karen Dinnie-Smyth. “With a small month over month decrease in price, the autumn market has returned to its traditional rhythm as we approach the holiday season. Inventory levels dipped slightly but remain well above this time last year, which is providing buyers with more options.”

There were 2,111 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of November 2022, a decrease of 3.7 per cent compared to the previous month of October but a 138 per cent increase from the 887 active listings for sale at the end of November 2021.

“Premier Eby’s rapid introduction of changes to the Strata Property Act which remove rental restrictions and age restrictions other than 55 and older from strata developments is raising questions within strata communities. It remains to be seen what effect this may have on the strata market,” adds President Dinnie-Smyth. “It is an open question whether these changes will bring any additional rental stock to the market - with BC’s complex Residential Tenancy Act not all homeowners of vacant strata homes have a desire to become landlords and current interest rates are less attractive to investors who may want to purchase strata rental properties. It is also possible that these measures will contribute further to eroding housing affordability as older stratas with rental restrictions were generally valued lower than their rentable counterparts.”

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in November 2021 was $1,249,400. The benchmark value for the same home in November 2022 increased by 4.6 per cent to $1,307,100 but was down 2.6 per cent from October's value of $1,341,400. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in November 2021 was $536,200, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in November 2022 increased by 9.6 per cent to $587,800, down by 2.5 per cent from the October value of $602,700.

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Viewing Homes when You Have Little Time to View Homes

Have you ever had to go last-minute gift shopping? If so, you know what that can be like. You don’t have time to amble casually through numerous stores in hopes of coming across something suitable. The clock is ticking. You need to find the right gift, now!

A similar thing can sometimes happen when shopping for a new home. You may not have a lot of time available in your schedule. Yet, you need to view properties and find the right home, quickly.

So, how do you do that on a tight schedule?

One way is to be clear on the type of home you want to get into. The narrower your search parameters, the more likely you are to view properties that are strong candidates.

Create a profile of your dream home, including property type, number of bedrooms, features, and other details. Also, be clear on the kind of neighbourhood you’d like to live in — including the type of street.

In addition, you should ensure that you’re shopping within the correct price range. Find out what the type of home you want is currently selling for on today’s market. Then, make sure you’re shopping within that range.

If you discover that your budget is below what ideal homes are selling for, adjust either your budget or your property expectations. If you can’t increase your budget, don’t panic. Chances are, you can still get a great home in your price range.

When scheduling viewing appointments, see as many homes as you can on each trip. That way, you’ll make the most of your viewing time. Also, when seeing a property, ensure you get all the information you need to make a decision. You’ll want to avoid having to view a property twice.

Want to find the ideal home faster? Call today!

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A slight uptick in sales and inventory, but Victoria real estate market still requires commitment to homes

A total of 480 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this October, 35.6 per cent fewer than the 745 properties sold in October 2021 but a 17.1 per cent increase from September 2022. Sales of condominiums were down 39 per cent from October 2021 with 152 units sold. Sales of single family homes decreased 32.2 per cent from October 2021 with 230 sold.

“Inventory has remained stable this month and for the first time since May 2022, we see a slight increase in the month over month sales,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Karen Dinnie-Smyth. “We noted last month that the number of sales for September did not necessarily reflect the on-the-ground activity in the marketplace. October sales have shown what the industry has been experiencing, an increase in activity, more sales and well-priced homes receiving plenty of attention – some receiving multiple offers. If you are considering selling a property, the continually evolving market conditions this month reinforce the need for up-to-date analysis of how to price your home during this type of market. With many micro-markets within the Greater Victoria area conversations with your local REALTOR® on how the housing market is performing in your specific area will be crucial to your success.”

There were 2,192 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of October 2022, a decrease of 4.7 per cent compared to the previous month of September but a 111.6 per cent increase from the 1,036 active listings for sale at the end of October 2021.

“With new mayors and councillors heading to work in several of our municipalities, we hope to see strong commitments to positive ways to manage the current and future housing needs of our communities high on council agendas,” adds President Dinnie-Smyth. “The future cost of housing is at stake. The pressure on pricing and in the market overall will not resolve until we see material improvements in the number and types of properties available in the Greater Victoria area. Rentals, townhouses, duplexes, triplexes and beyond are all needed to help ensure that we do not face another cycle of rapid price increases due to lack of inventory in the future. We hope that all municipalities will be looking at gentle density improvements that will ensure more homes for more people in their community planning.”

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in October 2021 was $1,216,900. The benchmark value for the same home in October 2022 increased by 10.2 per cent to $1,341,400 but was down 1.7 per cent from September's value of $1,364,200. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in October 2021 was $524,500, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in October 2022 increased by 14.9 per cent to $602,700, down by 2.4 per cent from the September value of $617,400.

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5 Easy Ways to Make your Home More Eco-Friendly

These days, people are more environmentally conscious. When it comes to their homes, that often starts with being more thoughtful about heating and cooling so they’re consuming less energy. With that in mind, here are some tips for making your home more eco-friendly:

 1. Install a smart thermostat. Modern thermostats come with various features that help you manage heating and cooling, so you use less energy. For example, you can program a thermostat to adjust temperature during the workday and then turn on heating or cooling an hour before you get home.

 2. Take advantage of non-peak times. Many utilities (electricity, water, etc.) offer price breaks at non-peak periods. For example, washing your clothes later in the evening might reduce your water bill. Ask your utility providers about available price-saving programs.

 3. Buy energy-saving products. A wide range of products are available to help you lower energy consumption, from shower faucets to kitchen ranges. The next time you’re shopping for an appliance or fixture, ensure it has eco-friendly features.

 4. Replace worn insulation. A one-inch crack in window insulation can cause your home’s HVAC system to work harder. That’s why experts advise that you check the insulation around doors and windows once a year and repair or replace it where necessary.

 5. Manage passive heat. It’s no surprise that a window letting in the sun will make a room warmer. So, take advantage of this free energy source. Let sun into rooms on cool days, so your furnace doesn’t have to come on as often. Do the opposite on hot days.

 I’m well-connected in the local home industry. If you need any advice or recommendations, call today!

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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.