I’ve been working with quite a few first-time buyers in Victoria lately. It’s become somewhat an exercise in frustration, as the homes that are available in their price ranges (typically under $400,000 without a rental suite/apartment, or under $500,000 with one) have been mostly disappointing, sometimes very much so. In one case, in a beat up currently rented place near Mayfair Mall, the smell in the basement was so unbearable, we left through the side door.
You’ll find the odd gem, but then you’ll often be competing with other buyers when it comes time to make an offer. This is very stressful for first time buyers, and often it pushes the price beyond where they’re comfortable.
My solution: move to Sooke. It’s not that far, yet prices are much friendlier, and the selection of homes is greater. Of course it won’t work for everyone – the couple I was out with this evening both work in Victoria, and she’ll be going back to school to UVic, and he often bikes to work, which are both a bit of a trek from Sooke. Plus they really enjoy the in-town lifestyle, so it just won’t work for them to buy in Sooke. Not that they aren’t tempted!
And for good reason. Let’s compare a couple of houses currently on the market:
$385,000 – Built in 1948, 3 beds, 1 bath, 950 sqft, 6800 sqft lot in Saanich West. Hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks OK, needing a few updates, and probably a roof too.
$379,900 – Built in 2007, 3 beds, 2 baths, 1660 sqft, 7300 sqft lot in Sunriver Estates. Essentially a brand-new home, with garage, warranty, gas fireplace, and all sorts of other modern features, in a new subdivision in Sooke.
Searching Sooke, there are 46 other single family homes on the market under $400,000 – ranging from older homes with suites, to brand new homes yet to be built, to rural acreages. This compares with 20 for sale under $400,000 in Victoria (6) Saanich East (7) and Saanich West (7) – which in total is a larger and more dense geographical area than Sooke.
If you don’t mind the drive to work, or if you happen to be self-employed, you really should check out the value for your dollar in Sooke.
That being said, there are still good houses in the first-time buyer price ranges in Victoria proper, and I know I’m going to find this couple the right home. It just so happens that there are more options in Sooke.
If you’re looking for an experienced, dedicated agent to help you buy or sell a home in Sooke, Langford, Colwood, or Victoria, I’d love an interview! Call me any time at 250-885-0512, email Tim@TimAyres.ca or fill in my contact form.
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