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Posts tagged ‘2008’

BC and Vancouver Island Recessions, Potholes, Flooding, Gas Prices, And Other Things Amiss

storm_clouds_over_swifts_creek

What the hell? I leave the Island for 10 days and it falls apart on me?

I got back on late Sunday night from a week in Mexico to attend my cousin’s wedding and generally unplug from the world for awhile. On that note, an all-inclusive resort with 40 friends and family and really expensive internet connections is a great stress reliever. Before that I spent a couple days on the mainland with (different) friends and (same) family to ring in the new year (kinda lame) and go skating at Richmond’s fabulous new Olympic Speedskating Oval (totally sweet).

flood

So, being unplugged for a week (well, that and not being geographically co-located with the weather system) caused me to miss most of the weather chaos. It would suck to live in Port Renfrew about now, what with the main highway being washed out and all. Sooke Road (aka Provincial Highway 14), for those not in the know, is a complete disaster all the way along. Sooke Potholes no longer refers to the swimming hole on the Sooke River, but I bet there are some on the road big enough to swim in. I managed to ruin a perfectly good rim and tire on my car by hitting a huge one on Tuesday evening. Mainroad Contracting is going to get a nice letter.

pothole1

Tonight, the kind folks from the Provincial Emergency Program were at the Sooke Council Chambers to offer information and applications to residents who suffered uninsured damage to their homes during 6-8 January, 2009.

gas_prices

Can somebody please explain to me why gas prices have increased by $0.15 while oil prices have decreased to below $40/bbl again? Somebody is gouging, I don’t care what they say.

Last night I attended, with the other directors of the Victoria Real Estate Board, the Canadian Home Builders Association Crystal Ball event, which featured several economists and our Board President, Chris Markham, giving their outlook on the economy and the housing markets for 2009. It was a good event, but obviously a heavy topic. I can’t imagine too many home builders that are thrilled about the recent slowdown in real estate sales.

Über-pessimist economist David Hobden of Central 1 Credit Union gave a grim forecast for 2009 (and 2010 somewhat), stating that the Island and Coast region are already in recession, and will remain so. He forecasts housing value to drop by 10 per cent in 2009. Hobden appeared to want to be anywhere but in that room last night, and his body language screamed doom, gloom, and defeat – it was painful to watch.

Jock Finlayson, BC Business Council executive vice president of policy was slightly more optimistic, and a much better speaker. He delivered his not-exactly-rosy forecast with levity and looked as if he enjoyed informing the room, which he had laughing on many occasions – and his visuals were way easier to read and understand. Finlayson explained that 2009 will be a difficult year, but by mid-year, credit conditions that are slowing the business cycle should improve, along with the U.S. economy, and 2010 should be a much better year. He forecasts housing starts (new construction) to be down by 40 or 50 per cent. Finlayson did a great job of explaining where all this mess came from and how Canada is better positioned to spend its way out of this recession via deficit budgets. Another positive point came in the fact that job losses will not likely be as sharp as in previous recessions because the demographics of recent years (families having fewer children and later in life, and people nearing retirement) will keep heavy losses in check – I’m sure you realize how tight labour markets have been up until a few months ago.

Victoria Real Estate Board 2009 President Chris Markham explained that while sales are slowing, it’s hard to compare 2008 to 2007 because it was an exceptionally strong year. This was emphasized by CMHC market analyst Travis Archibald showing that 2008 sales were actually very close to the 15-year average. The same goes for housing starts. They fell by a large percentage in 2008 over 2007, but are in-line with the historical averages. CMHC will be releasing its full outlook next month.

I think that Vancouver Island, and in particular, Victoria will fare better than the rest of the province, as we have a diversified economy, and stable major employers such as government and military. As for housing, it’s opportunity time out there. Buyers have their choice of many properties, and many would-be first-time buyers from the last few years, priced out by the rapidly increasing prices, will be looking at re-entering the hunt.

So, all in all, maybe the Island isn’t falling apart exactly, and I’m glad to be back. I’m optimistic about 2009, and we’re all in this together, so you might as well be optimistic too.

It’s all you can do.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Bank of Canada Slashes Interest Rates In December 2008 Meeting

Chop Chop Goes The Interest Rate!

Chop Chop Goes The Interest Rate!

UPDATE JAN 20, 2009: Click Here

In an effort to provide economic stimulus, the Bank of Canada has lowered its key overnight interest rate by 3/4 of a percent to 1.5% in its meeting today. Since the Canadian economy has been effectively hung out to dry by the political three-ring circus in Ottawa, I’m not surprised to see such a deep cut. If Parliament can’t/won’t do anything, then it’s up to the monetary policy makers at the Bank of Canada to provide stimulus to our economy.

Citing worse-than-expected economic performance both in this country and around the globe, the Bank has admitted that we are in fact in recession, but notes that recent fiscal and monetary actions by world governments is starting to have a positive effect on financial markets, however more time is needed for things to stabilize.

The trimming of the key rate provides a 50-year low in borrowing costs in Canada.

As with any rate cut by the BoC, it remains to be seen whether or not those savings will be reflected in the Big Five banks’ prime lending rates, currently at 4.0%.

Assuming the banks adopt the Bank’s drop in lending rates, and with the recent decline in real estate prices, sidelined buyers may just decide it’s a good time to enter the marketplace.

The Bank of Canada next meets on January 20th, 2009 to set the overnight rate. You can read the full Bank of Canada news release here.

If you have any questions about mortgages or about buying or selling real estate, please call me at 250-885-0512 or use the following link to contact me.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Sooke Events: Sooke Traditional Christmas Fine Arts and Crafts Exhibition 2008

Only in a small, friendly community like Sooke would you find such a unique offering for a Christmas craft fair. Held every year at a private residence, this outstanding exhibition takes over the entire house for three great days of unique shopping opportunities.

With (at latest count) 42 different artists and crafters represented, there are countless possibilities to get your home ready for the holidays. Everything from paintings and photographs, to hand-made pottery and glass, and  handmade wooden Christmas ornaments will be on sale all weekend.

The sale is located at 2404 Mountain Heights Drive, and the schedule is as follows:

Friday, December 5th, 2008, 6:00-10:00 PM
Saturday, December 6th, 2008, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday, December 7th, 2008, 10:00AM – 4:00 PM

Admission is free, and cash, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and debit cards are all accepted.

See the list of artists below, some have links to websites, if I was able to find them.

I’m sure you’ll find something intriguing that you’ll just have to buy!

1.Donna Southwood – Wildlife Artist- Original Paintings, Prints and Cards
2.Barb Bergstrom – “Kilndancing Pottery”
3.Grania Bridal – Paintings and Drawings
4.Doni Eve – Original Acrylic & Watercolour Paintings & Cards
5.Karen Lancey – “Metal Mermaid Welding”- Unique Art in Metal and Wood
6.Tyler Hayes & Kim Reid “Mystic Glass Creations”-Glass Jewellery and Art
7.Marina and Lucy Bridal – Paintings
8.Lisa Riehl –Mini Canvas Necklaces & Small Paintings & Cards
9. Lindy Philip – Paint & Tile Funktional Art
10.Benjamin Philip – Photography
11.Linda Anderson –Beautiful Handpainted Original Porcelain Plates
12.Jasmine Larmour – Painting, Earrings and Cards
13.Peggy Elmes “ Rivers Edge Pottery”- Pottery
14.Laura Bryant – Bodycasting & Painting
15.Shawn Vandekerkhove – Oil and Acrylic Painting
16.Bonnie Spencer – Westcoast Art Acrylic & Watercolours
17.Karen Laharty –Cut it Out Cookie Creations
18.Jenny and Allen Crandall -“Jenny’s Old Country Fare”-Artisan Baking
19.Shirley Skidmore –writer of “Murder in The Sooke Potholes”
20.Alison Garrett-Hanneson- Fused & Leaded Glass with a Westcoast Feel
21.Diane Welters- “Glorious Soaps”- Soap Maker
22.Jennifer Callioux – Nature and Wildlife Photography
23.Marty Machacek – Marty Cultural Art Paintings
24.Sue-Lin Tarnowski- Beadazzled Jewelry
25.Robin Stewart- Hand Stamped Cards and Gifts
26.Debbie Sailer- Handmade Lampwork Glass Beads & Stained Glass Creations
27.Margaret Templeman – Driftwood Santas
28.Jackie Chamberlain – Charval Jewelry
29.Geraldine McGuire – Plates, Vases and Votives
30.Judy Hull – Original Acrylic Paintings & Cards
31.Mary Waskul – Wildlife Photography– Canvas, Prints & Art Cards
32.Robert and Dana – Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery
33.Hailey Bryant – Painting
34.Arie and Tristan Tarnowski – Stocking Stuffers
35.Steve Robertson – Watercolour, Sports Portraits and Prints
36.Johanne Rousseau –Silversmithing and Jewelry
37.Fern Dunn – Scarves, Stockings, Placemats & Other Sewn Specialty Items
38.Jeannine St. Pierre – Doll Maker
39.Geraldine Eisen – Jewelry
40. Ilda Turcott – Knifty Knits
41. Nic McCormack – Pen and Pencil Drawings
42. Michel DesRochers – Paintings and Giclee Prints

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Sooke 2008 Municipal Election Results

First of all, thanks to all Sooke voters who came out to vote this past Saturday, and at advance polls earlier this month. This important vote for your civic leaders should have the highest turnout of all levels of government, but usually doesn’t. According to CivicInfoBC, 43.71% of eligible voters turned out to vote, but at first glance that might be based on total number of votes counted, and not total number of ballots. I will try and find out. UPDATE: A reply from CivicInfoBC confirms that their numbers were based on ballots, not votes. Hence, nearly 44% of eligible Sooke voters turned out to the polls! Good work!

Congratulations to Mayor Janet Evans, who was re-elected in a fairly close battle with Rick Kasper. Only two incumbent councillors were re-elected, Ron Dumont and Sheila Beech. Newcomers Dave Bennett, Maja Tait, Herb Haldane, and Bev Berger will join them in Sooke’s new municipal council.

Overall, I don’t think the vote could have gone much better. Political newcomer Dave Bennett got nearly 600 well-deserved votes more than his closest competitor. I’m expecting good things from him in the council chamber. I won’t go into detail on my personal opinions, bu, I believe the right people got elected and will be able to move forward with Sooke business over the next three years.

Also, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area residents have elected Mike Hicks over Ute Schnarr to the CRD board.

Here are the Sooke voting results from the CivicInfoBC Elections Site:

Mayor Candidate(s):

First Name

Last Name

Initial

Sex

Acclaimed

Votes

Elected

1. Janet Evans F 1597 YES
2. Rick Kasper M 1284
3. Randy Welters M 413
Councillor Candidate(s):
First Name
Last Name
Initial
Sex
Acclaimed
Votes
Elected
1. David Bennett M 2559 YES
2. Maja Tait F 1980 YES
3. Sheila Beech F 1835 YES
4. Herb Haldane M 1648 YES
5. Ron Dumont M 1586 YES
6. Bev Berger F 1532 YES
7. Brenda Parkinson F 1523
8. Rick Armour M 1464
9. Gail Hall F 1271
10. Carmen Montgomery-Gray F 573

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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It’s Official: October Sucked. Victoria BC MLS Real Estate Statistics October 2008

October 2008, personified. (Pumpkinified?)

October 2008, personified. (Pumpkinified?)

The stock markets crashed. Billions were pulled out of mutual funds. Banks were bailed out. We were all subjected to hearing Sarah Palin speak. And now this reminder of the worst month in history, ever ™.

The monthly real estate statistics from the Victoria Real Estate Board were (mercifully) delayed by a few days due to the final changeover from our old MLS system (Quest’s Ambiance) to our new MLS System (Tarasoft’s Matrix). When I saw the numbers I thought maybe there was a problem with the software. Sadly, no.

In the first week of October, when the world seemed to be coming to an end, it scared the daylights out of everyone. Can you blame anyone for not wanting to contemplate a major purchase when the words recession and depression are being bandied about left, right and centre by the news media?

Now, it’s not fair to blame the media, although they certainly didn’t help the situation. People were scared, and they still are, although I’d suspect less so now that it seems that the world is taking steps to get the economy back on track, and economist after economist and expert-of-this after expert-of-that has reassured us that Canada, and in particular British Columbia, is in better shape than many areas to weather this storm. Thanks to our boring banks for that.

The point is that our market fundamentals are still sound. Household debt is overall manageable, mortgage rates are low and expected to remain that way, the number of mortgages in arrears is the lowest in the country. We still have interprovincial migration, job growth, low unemployment, and remain the retirement capital of Canada.

I truly believe that we’ve already seen the most of the decline in our real estate market here in Sooke and Victoria. The professional world has already stopped panic-selling their investments, and once the consumer world catches on to the fact that this isn’t the end of the world, I think we’ll start to see stability in the marketplace. Buyers that had been sidelined essentially by fear alone will come out of the woodwork and we’ll have a healthy balanced market come the spring. We won’t see crazy price increases month-to-month, but that’s a good thing.

It really is a good time time to buy – as long as you’re planning to live in your home for a minimum of 3-5 years (good advice in any market). Interest rates are low, and sellers are a little more willing to be flexible on their prices. Get out there and make some offers!

Here is the press release, and related graphs courtesy the Victoria Real Estate Board:

The number of property sales throughout Greater Victoria declined in October while prices remained stable.

A total of 316 homes and other properties sold in October through the Victoria Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) down from the 512 sales in September. There were 708 sales in October of last year. The number of properties available for sale at the end of October was 4,680. That represents a 41 per cent increase compared to October of last year but a slight decline from the 4,754 properties available for sale at the end of September.

Victoria Real Estate Board President, Tony Joe, says despite the decline in the number of sales, it is important to keep the market activity in context. “The last six years have seen extraordinary growth. Last year in particular was truly exceptional both in terms of sales and prices so comparisons must be made with care. A more realistic comparison would be with 1998 — a year in which sales and inventory levels were comparable to today and a time when the market was considered to be strong and stable.” Joe noted there has been a total of 6,012 sales in the first ten months of this year compared to 4,571 in the corresponding period in 1998. There were 4,057 active listings at the end of October, 1998

The average price of single family homes in Greater Victoria last month was $565,741, up from $549,284 in September; the six-month average was $574,848 though the median price in October was considerably lower at $495,000. There were seven single family homes that sold for over $1 million in October, including two in Oak Bay, one of which sold for between $2 million and $3 million.

The average price of all townhomes sold last month was $389,731, down from $405,287 in September; the six month average was $425,866. The median price in October was $369,500. The overall average price for condominiums at $323,028 last month was up from $319,562 in September. The average for the last six months was $316,644. The median price for condominiums in October was $280,000.

MLS® sales last month included 184 single family homes, 76 condominiums, 26 townhomes and eight manufactured homes.

Summary Report and Graphs

Monthly Sales Summary
Average Selling Price Graphs
Active Listings, New Listings and Sales Graphs

Do you have any questions on buying or selling in today’s market? Interested in creative marketing methods to make your home stand out from the crowd? Fill in my contact form, give me a call at 250-885-0512, or e-mail me at Tim@TimAyres.ca and I’d love to meet you for coffee.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Victoria BC MLS® Real Estate Statistics – August 2008

Listings are up. WAYYYY up. Sales are down and prices are flat or falling. What does this mean to you?

If you’re a buyer: Good news. If you’re buying now you’ve got more inventory to look at than any time in the last twelve years. Shop around and make offers. Sellers are probably nervous.

If you’re a seller: Not so good news. While prices for single family homes have remained relatively flat over the medium-term (the six-month average is still near $600,000), the average price dropped to $550,000 from $578,000 last month. Realistic pricing (listen to your agent!) and good marketing is key to success in this market.

Below is the full report and summary graphs, courtesy Victoria Real Estate Board:

Property Sales and Prices Soften in August

September 2, 2008

Sales of homes and other properties in the Greater Victoria area followed the expected trend and softened last month as many people enjoyed vacation time. Prices also moderated slightly. A total of 517 homes and other properties sold in August through the Victoria Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) compared to the 616 sales in July. There were 846 sales in August of last year.

Victoria Real Estate Board President, Tony Joe, notes that today’s buyers now have more properties from which to choose than at any time since 1996. “The number of properties available for sale is now at the highest level in over 12 years, increasing in August to 4,657. That represents a 39 per cent increase compared to August of last year.” Joe notes that prices moderated last month with nearly 46 per cent of single family homes selling for under $500,000. “The average price of single family homes in Greater Victoria last month was $549,914, down from over $578,000 in July; the six-month average was $592,582 though the median price in August was considerably lower at $512,000.” Joe noted that eleven single family homes sold for over $1 million in August, including two sales on the Gulf Islands.

The average price of all townhomes sold last month was $413,994, down from nearly $455,000 in July; the six month average was $435,309. The median price in August was $382,000. Joe noted that the overall average price for condominiums at $302,200 last month was virtually unchanged from July. The average for the last six months was $319,825. The median price for condominiums in August was $280,000.

MLS® sales last month included 269 single family homes, 160 condominiums, 53 townhomes and eight manufactured homes.

Summary Report and Graphs

Monthly Sales Summary
Average Selling Price Graphs
Active Listings, New Listings, And Sales Graphs

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Sooke Events: Sooke Fine Arts Show 2008

One of the most highly anticipated events of the year in Sooke is the Sooke Fine Arts show. The premier juried art exhibition on Vancouver Island runs this year starting July 26th at 10:00am until August 4th. The event attracts many local Sooke artists, as well as other talented creators from around Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Painting, sculpture, pottery, mixed media and more will be represented.

There is a special purchaser’s preview night on Thursday, July 24th for those who don’t want to miss out on special, unique pieces.

The 10-day event will feature over 350 pieces, and will have events for seniors such as afternoon tea, events for kids such as the “art for kids” art scavenger hunt, and even an evening of ballroom dancing. There will be musical entertainment throughout the festival, too.Sooke Fine Arts Show 2008

New this year is the Artist in Attendance program, where one or more of the exhibited artists will be on hand demonstrating their skills and technique.

A raffle and a silent auction will also be held.

Tickets are $7 for adults (one day), $5 for seniors (one day) or $10 for the week. Kids under 12 are free. The special purchaser’s preview night costs $25 and you must reserve in advance. Call 250-642-7256.

The SEAPARC recreation centre is located on Philips road. Take Hwy 14 to Sooke, go over the bridge and turn right at the red and white lighthouse (the first traffic lights). SEAPARC will be on your left as you pass the museum. See the Google Map below:


View Larger Map

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Victoria BC MLS® Real Estate Statistics – June 2008

Nothing to comment on these numbers, but view the Sooke real estate statistics for June here.

Courtesy VREB:

Sales Soften, Prices Remain Stable

July 2, 2008

Sales of homes and other properties in the Greater Victoria area softened last month though prices continue to remain stable. Victoria Real Estate Board President, Tony Joe, notes that the modest decline in sales from May to June followed a similar pattern to last year. “There was a total of 723 sales of homes and other properties in June through the Victoria Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) compared to the 770 sales in May. Although sales last month were down substantially compared to the 949 sales in June of last year, it is important to remember that 2007 was an exceptional year for the local real estate market.”

Joe notes that prices remain stable. The overall average price of single family homes in Greater Victoria last month was $580,104; the six-month average was $600,740 though the median was considerably lower at $538,000. “There will always be month-to-month fluctuations in prices, but when we consider that the six month average in January was just over $586,000 we see that prices have remained remarkably stable this year,” said Joe.

The number of properties available for sale continued to increase last month rising to 4,513 – a 27 % increase compared to June last year. “With more properties from which to choose, buyers clearly feel less pressure to make a quick decision, though sellers who price their homes realistically can still expect strong interest,” said Joe.

The average price of all condominiums sold in June was $319,943; the average for the last six months was $330,992. The median was again lower at $295,000. The average price of all townhomes sold last month was $431,992; the six month average was $432,152. The median price was $399,500.

MLS® sales last month included 395 single family homes, 180 condominiums, 81 townhomes and 23 manufactured homes.

Summary Report and Graphs

Monthly Sales Summary
Average Selling Price Graphs
Active Listings, New Listings and Sales Graphs

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!
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Sooke Real Estate Market MLS® Sales Statistics – May 2008

I was surprised at the results of the Victoria Real Estate Board‘s May 2008 MLS® statistics report, released yesterday. Here in Sooke, I’d been anticipating that other areas in the Victoria region had been having as strong a month as we have. I felt that anecdotally, anyway, our May was as good or better than May 2007. It turns out I was right.

For single family dwellings, there were 30 sales in the Sooke core area (I’m excluding East Sooke, Jordan River, Sheringham Point, and Port Renfrew). Last year there were 28. Including the aforementioned areas, there were 33 sales this year, and 30 last year.

New listings are a hot topic in real estate circles these days – the overall Victoria inventory is getting very high. In the Sooke core area there are a total of 131 listings currently available (192 including outlying areas). 62 of these were listed last month, compared to 72 last year. Click here for a .PDF of my findings. Please note: “New Sales” means deals that have gone unconditional (SOLD sticker goes up) but have not closed yet (new owners receive title). The VREB uses only closed sales for its calculations and statistics each month.

Overall it shows a stable, healthy market in my opinion. Sooke is a very desirable place to live. Lower taxes, more affordable housing, and a great seaside setting attract many people from other areas. You might be worried about the price of fuel if you have to commute to Victoria, but when you’re saving tens of thousands of dollars or more on housing, that buys a lot of gasoline, even at today’s prices.

Tim Ayres

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Victoria BC MLS® Real Estate Statistics – May 2008

No surprises here, inventory up, sales are down.

More evidence of balance in the real estate market (although with the number of new listings, I’m not sure just how ‘balanced’ it is!) was revealed today with the release of the Victoria Real Estate Board‘s May MLS® statistics.

Despite a 25% increase in listings available for sale over the same time a year ago, prices seem to be remaining stable. 18There were virtually the same number of sales this month as last, but 193 less than May of 2007. Despite that, the average and six-month averages of condos, townhomes, and single family detached homes remain virtually the same.

What does it all mean? The number of properties available for sale has been increasing steadily all year. However, buyers are still out there, and it’s still common to see well-priced properties get snapped up very quickly. What is important, as I’ve said time and time again, is good marketing. With so much to choose from, buyers will very quickly skim over properties with horrible photos, bad write ups, or worse still, none of the above.

Below is the full Victoria Real Estate Board news release, with graphs.

More Choices Now Available for Home Buyers

June 2, 2008
With a return to a balanced real estate market, home buyers in the Victoria area now have a much larger pool of properties from which to choose. The number of properties available for sale increased to 4,332 in June – a 25 % increase over the same month a year ago and the highest level since June 1998.

Victoria Real Estate Board President, Tony Joe, notes that despite this increase, prices and sales remain stable although the number of sales is down compared to a year ago. “There was a total of 770 sales of homes and other properties in May through the Victoria Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), virtually unchanged from the 768 sales in April but down from the 963 sales in May of last year.” Joe noted that a significant number of new properties came on the market last month: “There were 1,850 new listings in May – the highest number for a single month in over 18-years”. Joe added that 24 sales over $1 million had an impact on the overall average price of single family homes in Greater Victoria which last month was $601,897; the six-month average was $606,985 though median was considerably lower at $545,000. There were also three sales on the Gulf Islands of over $1 million.

The average price of all condominiums sold in May was $336,157; the average for the last six months was $333,208. The median was again lower at $295,500. The average price of all townhomes sold last month was $435,058; the six month average was $433,854. The median price was $394,900.

MLS® sales last month included 470 single family homes, 168 condominiums, 71 townhomes and 25 manufactured homes.

Summary Report and Graphs

Monthly Sales Summary
Average Selling Price Graphs
Active Listings, New Listings and Sales Graphs

Courtesy Victoria Real Estate Board

Tim Ayres

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Just use the reply form below!


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