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Bidding wars continue in Greater Victoria despite lower sales

The benchmark value for a single-family home in the Victoria core was about $1.122 million
The benchmark price for a single family home in the Victoria core region of the Victoria Real Estate Board was about $1.122 million, $912,700 for the West Shore and $1.129 million for the Saanich Peninsula. (Black Press Media file photo)

Local realtors made fewer sales in November, but the competition among buyers remains fierce.

This reading emerges from figures released by the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) for November 2021 during which 653 properties sold — 17.9 per cent fewer than the 795 properties sold in November 2020 and 12.3 per cent less than the previous month of October.

But if sales for single-family homes and condominiums dropped 18.6 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively, prices continue to escalate in the face of what VREB president David Langlois calls an “ultra-low number of listings” meeting rising demand.

“This demand creates competition and pressure on pricing and we continue to see home values notch up,” he said in a release. “At this moment in time, there are fewer than 600 residential properties for sale in our market.”

The Home Price Index benchmark value for a single-family home in the Victoria core was about $1.122 million in November 2021, an increase of 24.2 per cent compared to November 2020. For condominiums, the rise was less pronounced, rising by 15.6 per cent to $560,700 in November 2021 compared to November 2020.

Looking at regions beyond the Victoria core, the benchmark price for a single-family home on the West Shore was $912,700, while the figure for the Peninsula stands at $1.129 million.

Rising housing costs raise the inevitable question about the region’s housing affordability. Langlois, for his part, says only strong measures around supply will lift pressure on the housing market. “Governments continue to try to intervene by using demand-side measures, such as the province announcing their plan to introduce a ‘cooling-off’ period for resale homes,” he said.

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Langlois said the provincial government announced the idea without supporting data or consultation. “Introducing measures that add uncertainty to the marketplace fails to address the issues of supply and attainability in our community – and threatens to make the supply situation worse,” said Langlois, adding that a cooling-off period would not increase consumer protection.

“The housing market is complex and policy must be evidence-based and designed for all types of markets – not to react to a moment in time,” said Langlois. “The government needs to sharpen their focus on the issue that has been documented for years – that a consistent delay in the delivery of homes to meet the needs of our growing population has created housing gridlock.”

Writing at, local realtor and real estate expert Leo Spalteholz said the figures show little sign of relief. “Though we are down from the absolute peak about a year ago when there was still inventory to absorb, we are still strongly into the overheated market territory,” he said. “This is now well beyond the length of any super-hot market we’ve seen in the historical data.”

To underscore this point, Spalteholz said bidding wars have continued into the winter rather than dissipating. “Single-family properties sold in bidding wars just as frequently as in March, and condos were not far behind, reaching a high for the year,” he said.

The Victoria Real Estate Board represents 1,527 local realtors.

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