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2021 a banner year for real estate in Greater Victoria

Sales total comes close to eclipsing record, even with million-dollar prices common
Greater Victoria real estate sales jumped more than 18 per cent in 2021 over the previous year, according to figures from the Victoria Real Estate Board. (Black Press Media file photo)

Realtors working within the area of Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) sold 10,052 properties in 2021, nearly breaking the record of 10,622 properties sold in 2016.

Sales figures for 2021 as a whole were more than 18 per cent higher than in 2020, with corresponding increases in prices. The benchmark value for a typical detached single-family home in the Victoria Core (Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay and Esquimalt) was $1.144 million in December 2021, up 25.1 per cent from the same month in 2020. The benchmark price for condominiums was also up over the previous year, rising by 17.1 per cent to $570,600 in December 2021.

Sales for the month were down 30.6 per cent from December 2020, but the amount of home inventory was also 49 per cent lower. According to the board, the 652 active listings at the end of December 2021 marked the lowest such inventory at month-end in at least 25 years.

A consistent theme ran through 2021, VREB past-president David Langlois said in a release.

“Each month a high demand for homes, paired with record low inventory, has put strong pressure on pricing and attainability and has made the local and global housing market a top news item and political talking point,” he said.

RELATED: Bidding wars continue in Greater Victoria despite lower sales

Looking at the Saanich Peninsula, for example, the December 2021 benchmark prices for a detached single-family home in North Saanich was $1.352 million, just over $1 million in Central Saanich and $959,300 in Sidney.

Looking across the rest of Greater Victoria, Oak Bay recorded the highest benchmark price for a single-family home at $1.585 million. Other jurisdictions where that benchmark exceeded $1 million were Victoria, View Royal, Saanich, Metchosin and Highlands. Those just below the $1 million mark included Victoria West (separated from Victoria), Esquimalt, Langford and Colwood, while the most reasonably priced in VREB’s coverage area were Sooke ($838,800) and the Gulf Islands ($706,900).

The new figures were announced this week on the heels of new figures from the BC Assessment Authority, which show significant increases in communities across Vancouver Island, in some cases in excess of 40 per cent.

RELATED: Property assessments up more than 40 per cent in some Vancouver Island communities

Langlois repeated previous calls for new measures to improve the supply of housing.

“Some of our municipalities have begun to look at ways to make it easier for new homes to be brought to market and we applaud and encourage any movement in this area. It has been far too difficult and expensive to build homes in our region,” he said. “The situation we are now in is because of the deficit of supply that has compounded over the past decades of hesitation around growth.”

Langlois used the occasion to criticize proposed remedies focused on the sales process.

“The process of how a home is sold is not the issue – homes will sell for what consumers will pay for them – using any sales process. The issue is how homes are brought to the marketplace and our huge lack of supply. Governments should expend their resources to address supply issues that continue to drive up competition for homes and result in ever-increasing prices.”

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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