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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