The selection of single family homes on the Greater Victoria real estate market is good

HOMEFINDER: Market heading into summer with a bang

Balanced market good for buyers and sellers: Victoria Real Estate Board president

When the numbers show continued growth in the real estate market, it’s hard not to be excited.

May’s sales figures for the Greater Victoria region showed the best numbers since 2010, according to Victoria Real Estate Board president and active agent Tim Ayres.

But the best of 2014 may well be yet to come.

“I haven’t seen a start to June like this in a while,” he said this week, when asked for his thoughts on the state of the local market. “It’s healthy.”

Forget the old expression about March coming in like a lion. Early sales for this month have local agents on pace to knock out the June 2013 numbers.

That said, Ayers and others continue to describe the Capital Region housing market as “balanced,” meaning neither buyers nor sellers have the upper hand in negotiations.

“It’s one of those funny markets,” he said. “You don’t really have the buyers beating down your door. At the same time, we don’t really see an end to the busy season.”

From a cost perspective, prices are remaining fairly constant, with only a one-per-cent upward blip in the region’s benchmark price for a typical home.

With no pressure up or down on price, and interest rates remaining low, there’s less chaos in the market and agents have more time to spend working with buyers to ensure they find a home that is the right fit, Ayers said.

“Whether you’re a Realtor or a seller, you want to be sure the buyer wants your property. There’s less complications that way.”

Bill Ethier, president of Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty, noted that when it’s a buyers or sellers’ market, it’s usually a sign that something not so good is on the horizon.

Having a balanced market helps “put confidence back in the marketplace,” he said.

“These times are like a nice, stoked fire going along nicely,” Ethier said. “Buyers have a chance to look around and take time and be cautious, but at the same time we’re seeing multiple offers, like any market, if it shows well and is priced well, it’s going to go quickly.”

He said the $450,000 to $600,000 price range continues to be the sweet spot for sales in the region.

Helping keep the market on an even keel is the absence of impending regulatory changes, such as the shorter amortization periods from late 2012 that prompted many people to jump into the market quickly ahead of that change.

The relatively low cost of borrowing helps too, he said. “We’ve been told we can’t maintain these low rates forever, but we’ve had this for four years now.”

ddescoteau@vicnews.com

Q: WHAT ARE SOME TIPS FOR SELLING MY HOME DURING THE SUMMER?

Mow your lawn regularly – If you’re watering regularly, grass grows especially fast when the hot sun is beating down so make sure to keep it trim and tidy. Trim bushes and plant flowers if you have time and look into painting your house number on your curb.

Keep it bright inside – Increase the perceived size of the home by opening it up, removing heavy drapes and pulling all your blinds up.

The nose knows – Sometimes air fresheners can work against you. Vanilla can smell great, but it can overwhelm if not used sparingly. If needed, consider natural fragrances such as cut roses, flower petals.

GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » AS OF JUNE 10/14 COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD

» 239 / 664 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL, JUNE  2013

» 422 / 1,240 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, JUNE 2013

» 4,610 / 4,833 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL, JUNE 2013

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