The Victoria Real Estate Board says home sales took a hit in mid-March after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Victoria Real Estate Board says home sales took a hit in mid-March after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. (Black Press Media file photo)

COVID-19: Greater Victoria home sales drop after pandemic declared

March home sales down 5% from 2019

Victoria’s real estate market is already starting to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB).

The first few weeks of March 2020 started with multiple offers, new listings and sales, said VREB president Sandi-Jo Ayers. “And then the world changed.”

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, we have tracked a predictable downturn of sales in our market,” Ayers said. “Moving forward, it is hard to predict what our spring market will look like, but it will likely be very different than recent years as our entire community slows down to stay healthy.”

READ MORE COVID-19 COVERAGE HERE

According to VREB, 608 properties sold in the region this March – five per cent fewer than the 640 sold in March 2019 but still eight per cent more than February 2020. Condominium sales were down 9.2 per cent from 2019, with 178 units sold. And 305 single family homes were sold in March, a 5.3 per cent decrease from the year prior.

Despite the pandemic, the average value for a single family home in Victoria was up five per cent over the March 2019 value at $877,700. The benchmark value is also up for condominiums, with a 4.8 per cent jump to $531,900.

Ayers said the real estate industry is working with the government to make sure transactions underway before the pandemic are protected and homeowners can complete sales and purchases.

“This is a time to ensure our clients are safeguarded as well as to ensure that our community stays healthy,” she said. “Many Realtors are leveraging new technologies including video home tours and virtual showings.”

The VREB represents 1,387 Realtors in Greater Victoria from Sooke to Sidney, as well as up-Island to Cobble Hill and the Gulf Islands.

READ ALSO: ‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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