Victoria’s housing market is red hot these days, but realtor Christina Stack is having a hard time finding something to sell her clients searching for a new home.
According to Stack, anything priced in the $550,000 to $600,000 range is selling within hours and some homes have had five or six offers. In Fairfield, homes are selling for $40,000 to $80,000 over the asking price, and it’s been that way for the last six months.
“It’s absolutely crazy,” said Stack, adding when a home is put on the market, it usually takes a couple days for it hit MLS.
“Unless you have an agent staring at the screen like me, we have to get there first. I’m literally going to houses in my weight-lifting gear, covered in chalk to get there right away.”
The most recent real estate inventory numbers show there are currently 2,986 properties for sale in the Greater Victoria area — down from 3,631 at the same time last year.
For October, 734 properties sold in the region compared to 602 at the same time last year. The average price of a single family home was $608,200 — up nine per cent from 2014.
“This is the 29th month in a row that we’ve seen monthly sales increase over the year before,” said Guy Crozier, president of the Victoria Real Estate Board. “We’re looking down the home stretch of 2015 and there is no sign of a market slow down.”
Working as a realtor for five years, the low inventory that Victoria is currently experiencing isn’t something Stack has seen before, but she noted the housing market typically goes through seven-year cycles, and the numbers are now reminiscent of the real estate market prior to the 2008 crash.
Making matters worse, Stack said people wanting to sell their homes are hesitant to list them because there’s nowhere for them to go. The vacancy rate is the lowest it’s been in 11 years.
“If I sell one of my client’s houses, they have nowhere to go to even rent,” said Stack, who’s hoping more listings will come up in February — a time when many properties are typically put up for sale.
As for who’s buying the properties, Stack said most of her clients are between the ages of 35 and 45, and are mainly professionals such as doctors, lawyers, archeologists and scientists moving from other parts of the country with their families. Some have taken pay cuts to come to Victoria and are now getting discouraged trying to find a place to call home.
Fairfield is the hottest market right now when it comes to homes, followed by Fernwood and Oaklands.
When it comes to condos, however, Stack said there’s still plenty to choose from since new buildings are continually being constructed.
Until more homes are put on the market, Stack is warning her clients that it’s likely going to be a long hunt.
“It’s really frustrating…People are paying over what the market value is because there is nothing,” she said. “You have to be a really keen buyers agent who will drop everything.”