For Michele Holmes, realtor and owner of Holmes Realty, times are definitely getting better.
After a significant slump in the market after the 2008 economic crisis, the real estate markets in Sidney, North Saanich and Central Saanich have all shown a slow but steady improvement and these days, those markets are very good.
“We showed record high sales this past summer,” said Holmes. “It actually started about four years ago but right now is a great time to get into a home. There isn’t a better time to buy.”
Holmes said that there is a bit of a trend toward smaller homes with manageable lot sizes.
“People are busy these days. Both spouses are working and they want to spend their time in activities with their kids and just enjoying life. The gigantic lots and huge homes that were very popular at one time are less so now,” said Holmes.
There is also a definite desire for homes that are ‘move-in-ready’.
“We help people get their homes ready for sale through pointing out minor repairs and renovations that they can do, as well as staging,” she said.
But price and supply are still the main driving factors in home sales.
“It’s a good time to list,” said Holmes. “Inventory is down and the prices have become quite reasonable. For better homes we are now even experiencing multiple bidders on occasion.”
“Many buyers seem to be looking for properties with additional revenue potential such as suites,” said Stephen Postings of DFH Real Estate. “It’s definitely a healthy market, though. Money is cheap … I mean interest rates are low … and prices are soft. It makes for a great time to invest in a home.”
He said that this time of year is traditionally less active but that this year’s activity seems to be bucking that trend. He added that the price corrections of the past few years have created a balanced market.
According to Debbie Gray of Re/Max Realty, this summer’s real estate market in North Saanich was the busiest that she’s seen in years.
“I’ve been in this business for over 30 years and this is one of the best times that I’ve seen to buy a home,” said Gray.
“It helped that the past council for North Saanich was trying to create affordable housing in the community,” she added. “The intent was to bring young people back to the community so they pushed forward projects like the one at Canora Mews. That created a lot of activity.”
Gray said she fears that future developments may not be in the cards, given the past positions that new council members have expressed.
“I hope I’m wrong on that. Those developments have really been good for the community.”
“Canora Mews was very successful. Why wouldn’t we continue that kind of development?”
Regardless of whether new housing is brought into the market, the experts seem to agree that the peninsula’s real estate future is seen as very strong.
“Let’s face it,” said Gray, “Sidney and the surrounding area will always be a great place to live. Eventually, everyone wants to come here.”
— Tim Collins/News Contributor