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Sooke’s 2022, real estate market is expensive with few options

Slow permit approval process is hurting housing supply, says realtor
Finding a house in Sooke is easier said then done, according to realtor Tim Ayres. Reader’s Lens Wildlife photographer Kathie Loveys shot this dramatic image of a sunrise over Sooke Basin. (Contributed - Kathie Loveys)

Real estate prices are set to keep rising amid scant supply in Sooke, in a common tale for markets throughout the country.

The average absorbed price — a house that’s sold before or soon after construction is completed – was $827,534 in November, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Tim Ayres, a realtor with Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty said price increases have made it tough for buyers, and for people looking to buy land.

“It’s been frustrating for a lot of buyers, being priced out or being being outbid on several different properties before finally finding one that they are able to successfully purchase,” he said.

These high prices are in some cases keeping people from selling, because finding another property to move to is challenging.

“I’ve met people that have sold their house on the mainland and moved here, just assuming that they were going to be able to find a place and they haven’t, and are finding themselves quickly priced out having sold six months ago,” he added.

High prices have in part fuelled a rise in the number of renovations permits being issued in Sooke – the district reported revenue from permits was nearly $500,000 higher than budgeted, according to Sooke Mayor Maja Tait.

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Ayres himself just completed a large renovation to his house. But he said the permit approval process moves too slowly to combat demand for housing.

“It shouldn’t be this this hard to get a permit approved,” he said.

Combined with the lack of available land, the slow permit approval process means there aren’t enough homes being constructed to meet demand, said Ayres, despite urgency from developers.

“It’s hard for developers to take that risk and put their money on the line to build a project that’s going to take them two or three years and they don’t know what the outcome is going to be.”

Ayres expects prices to keep increasing, although he said “there may be not as much room” for prices to increase as they did in 2021. But they will keep going up until supply issues are fixed.

“I don’t know where this extra inventory is going to come from, because people want to move here and not away from here.”


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