In July the Bank of Canada ramped up interest rates – for the first time in seven years – to 0.75 per cent, scrambling investors and prospective homebuyers alike to find the best possible deal before it’s too late.
In Oak Bay, the increase wasn’t welcome either, but nor was it earth-shattering, noted local Royal LePage realtor Andrew Swan, adding it’s more so first-time homebuyers that will feel the biggest hit.
“The people who live in Oak Bay are different than other areas, because in other areas you’ll have a lot of first-time homebuyers being affected, whereas Oak Bay people are stepping up,” he said. “It’s a saught after area, it’s beautiful. People flock to it. Generally people who move there have a higher income, so they not be affected as much with the increase as opposed to a first-time homebuyer trying to get into the market.”
Swan pointed out the rate hike will affect the amount of properties being sold, and potential residents may find more rental housing, because as interest rates go up, rent goes up too.
Still, Oak Bay is kind of a different beast, largely because of its unique old-style charm that isn’t seen anywhere else in Greater Victoria.
“People want character homes. You see a lot of new construction, but generally, people in that area like the aesthetics of oak Bay, so they want to preserve the character and put the work into that,” Swan said.
Unlike the start of this year, inventory has also been on the increase, with more and more options trickling out into the local real estate market. With interest rates going up, Swan said people are probably going to want to get locked into a fixed term with their mortgage, and they can get it at the lower interest rate.
One thing’s for sure: everything is selling quickly these days in Oak Bay, family homes in particular.
“Anything three bedrooms or more fly off the market in Oak Bay, because people want their kids to go to school here, and they know it’s a good community to be in,” Swan said, adding houses between $800,000 and $1 million seem to be the ones that get fiercely competitive with multiple offers.
With that, of course, comes with a punishing cost to others looking to enter the market: the higher you go on price, the less people can afford.
“This is where you see all these competitive bidding wars … if it’s good product, people aren’t afraid to pay, because they want to live in that area, and want their kids to grow up in that area,” he said, adding it tends to be easier to sell to Oak Bay, and having such proximity to schools plays a significant factor.
As such, both South Oak Bay and North Oak Bay remain hot areas, with North Oak Bay being the hottest for sales in the last two months, Swan explained.
Going forward, Oak Bay may see an influx of buyers over the next little bit.
“Victoria, especially Oak Bay, it’s just a very consistent market, people will always want to live here, and there will always be a buyer for a home in Oak Bay,” Swan said.
For more info on how you can get into Oak Bay’s housing market, please contact realtor Andrew Swan at the Royal LePage office: 250-592-4422, or his mobile, 250-686-3145.