Greater Victoria recorded the second-largest decline in housing prices anywhere in Canada in May 2019.
Figures from Statistics Canada show housing prices in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) dropped 0.4 per cent in May 2019 thanks to what the agency called “[deteriorating] market conditions” as primary reasons. They included among others a rise in regional unemployment. New home prices also dropped 0.7 per cent in Kelowna and 0.3 per cent in Vancouver. Saskatoon recorded the largest drop with a minus of 0.5 per cent. Canada-wide, housing prices dropped 0.1 per cent in May 2019.
Year-over-year, housing prices dropped 1.4 per cent in Victoria, and 0.9 per cent in Vancouver.
The figures, however, require some perspective. According to the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB), the benchmark value for a single family home in Victoria’s core was 859,600 in June 2019, and Victoria’s officially remains a seller’s market as measured by the sales-to-active listings ratio. While far removed from the real estate boom that defined the area just a few years ago, the region remains among the most expensive in Canada.
Unemployment, while rising, also remains at a relatively low level. It reached four per cent in June 2019 — up from 3.6 per cent in May 2019. This said, Victoria’s regional unemployment remains the lowest among B.C.’s four CMAs. It ties with Vancouver’s rate and remains ahead of Kelowna (4.4 per cent) and Abbotsford-Mission (5.4) per cent. The provincial unemployment rate is 4.5 per cent.