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HOMEFINDER: A stable market can work for sellers, too

The residential real estate market in Greater Victoria saw sales 20 per cent higher in March than the same month in 2013. Sellers and buyers alike have more certainty around pricing in this stabilized market, says Tim Ayres, local Realtor and the president of the Victoria Real Estate Board. - Don Descoteau/News staff
The residential real estate market in Greater Victoria saw sales 20 per cent higher in March than the same month in 2013. Sellers and buyers alike have more certainty around pricing in this stabilized market, says Tim Ayres, local Realtor and the president of the Victoria Real Estate Board.
— image credit: Don Descoteau/News staff

The days of bidding wars on Greater Victoria homes and deals being written on the kitchen table after a viewing seem like the distant past when considering today’s residential real estate market.

Agents who have spoken to Homefinder in the past have said that’s a good thing, in that it not only allows them to spend more time working with clients to determine the right price for which to sell their home, it can give sellers more certainty and understanding of the market.

“In this kind of market, if a seller is really well prepared, for example, if the house is really well presented and ready to go, they’re going to find their experience is that much better than someone who isn’t prepared,” said Victoria Real Estate Board president Tim Ayres.

The stability of the market these days means sellers are not having to take a huge drop from their asking price, he said.

With no real upward or downward pressure on prices, the decision to sell can be one that comes when moving “feels right” to the homeowner, Ayres said.

There are still people who are not as motivated to sell and delay putting their home on the market, in an attempt to ride an upward wave and maximize the amount they’ll receive. Doing so can be a mug’s game, he said.

“I think timing the market is always impossible. You’ll never know whether it was a good time to buy or sell until a few months down the road.”

In general, there is still enough product out there for buyers to be able to take their time. Conversely, sellers are also going to have to be patient, he said.

There are some exceptions to that rule, however.

As Ayres said, well-prepared, well-priced homes are still getting snapped up quickly. As well, properties in Oak Bay, Fairfield, Gordon Head and the family friendly Saanich West neighbourhoods of Glanford, Layritz and Northridge are proving popular right now, from a price and location perspective.

As well, the $400,000 to $600,000 price range seems to be a “sweet spot” for homes right now, he added.

Looking at the sales figures for Greater Victoria, sellers have reason to be optimistic.

In March, 575 properties were sold, spread through the various residential categories. That’s a bump of nearly 20 per cent over March 2013, when the trickle-down effects of the global recession were being felt more strongly and such factors as tighter mortgage restrictions were still pretty fresh.

Looking longer-term, the five-year average for March is 607 sales, showing that things are gradually getting back to normal in the region’s real estate market.

ddescoteau@vicnews.com

Q: What kinds of factors determine my home’s best asking price?

Similar homes that have recently sold in your neighbourhood – Your real estate agent can determine how close the seller was to receiving their asking price, and in general what people are willing to pay in your area

Take a good look at the competition – Current listings will tell you what similar properties are on the market and which might be in competition with your home

Homes for which the listing has expired – Realtors can look into exactly why a home was taken off the market, whether it was for an unrealistic asking price, poor condition of the home or some combination of reasons

GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE, AS OF APRIL 2/14 (Courtesy Victoria Real Estate Board) »

26 / 615 -- NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES, MONTH-TO-DATE / April 2013

66 / 1,346 --NEW LISTINGS THIS MONTH / TOTAL FOR APRIL 2013

4,265 / 4,585 -- TOTAL ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / Peak, April 2013

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