The number of Greater Victoria home sales continued to slow in July even as contractors build thousands of new single and multi-family housing units throughout the region.
“We are in a different market now than what we have seen for the past two years,” Victoria Real Estate Board president Kyle Kerr said Wednesday.
July marked the eighth consecutive month that sales numbers fell below the same month last year. The real estate board said different conditions are evident in different price points in the local market.
Kerr said the $750,000-or-less bracket is a “fast-moving market with low inventory.”
There are 30 per cent fewer homes listed for sale in that sector of the market than at this time a year ago, he said.
The pace is slower for properties in the $1.5-million-and-up bracket. “There is more selection than last year and those homes are sitting on the market longer,” Kerr noted. In the first seven months of this year, there were 664 properties priced at $1.5 million and higher, compared with the 481 in 2017.
Last month, 651 properties of all types changed hands — down by 17.6 per cent from the 790 properties sold in July of last year.
Last month’s sales are also down by eight per cent from June.
Year-over-year board figures show condominium sales slid by 22.6 per cent compared with July 2017 and single-family sales dropped by 16.5 per cent.
The number of properties for sale with the board’s Multiple Listing Service stood at 2,607 at the end of July, an increase from 1,927 the same month last year.
Prices were relatively flat for single-family homes in the core. The benchmark price (representing a typical house in an area) moved to $880,000 in July, down slightly from $889,600 in June. A year ago, the benchmark was $834,200.
The benchmark price for condos in the capital region was $485,200 last month, inching down from $486,100 in June.
Blogger Leo Spalteholz, a real estate agent with Fair Realty, examined provincial housing data and said that it appears the expanded foreign buyer’s tax of 20 per cent, which now includes Greater Victoria, is dampening sales.
A total of six Greater Victoria properties were sold to foreign buyers in June, down from 53 last year. The median price in June paid by foreign buyers was $380,000, a decrease from $728,000 the previous year.
In Nanaimo, where the tax now applies, there were no sales to foreign buyers in June, compared with 27 in June last year, he said.
Spalteholz said that when the foreign buyer’s tax was first introduced, at a lower rate in Vancouver, sales dropped, but there was a bounce-back to some extent. He anticipates that the same thing will take place in Victoria and Nanaimo, but still expects sales to be lower than in the past.
He believes the foreign buyer’s tax will have more impact on the higher end of the market.