24% Buys A Lot Of Gas

Photo Credit: Mutley *--* on Flickr

One of the things that attracts people to Sooke is the price of housing. My clients are always amazed at what they can afford in Sooke compared to Victoria, or even just 20 minutes down the road in Langford. But have you ever wondered just how much cheaper homes are out here? Well, thankfully, CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) has crunched the numbers for us and they believe that by choosing to live in Sooke, you save about 24% over a home in Langford, all other things equal. In a study completed this fall, CMHC examined a large data set of 2,144 completed home sales from January to September 2011. They accounted for things like house size, lot size, age of home, and many other variables and found, compared to a home in Langford:

  • Buyers pay a premium of 75% to live in Oak Bay
  • Buyers pay a premium of 44% to live in the city of Victoria
  • Buyers pay a premium of 35% to live in Saanich East
  • Buyers pay a premium of 24% to live in Sidney
  • Buyers pay a premium of 18% to live in Saanich West
  • Buyers enjoy a 24% discount to live in Sooke.

Let’s have a look at a few recent sales to see how they compare to this study.


This home on Wild Ridge Way in Langford sold recently for $455,000. It has 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 1,667 square feet on about a 4000 sqft lot. It is brand new, built in 2011.

Let’s compare it to this home which recently sold on Steeple Chase, in Sooke. It too is about 1600 sqft, has 3 bedrooms and 3 baths, on about 4000 sqft of land in a new subdivision, and was built brand new this year. But it sold for $360,000 – about 21% less than the similar house in Langford.

I believe the Sooke property is in a better location – just a short walk to an elementary and middle school, and walking distance to the town centre. The Langford home is way out Happy Valley Road, not really close to anything (although the Galloping Goose Trail is quite handy to it).

I know there’s nothing we can do about the extra time spent commuting to and from Sooke – about 20 minutes extra, each way – but I often hear people talk about the gas they’ll be saving by living closer to Victoria. Let’s calculate, just for fun, how much gas you could buy with the $95,000 you saved by buying in Sooke.

Let’s assume $1.20/l for gas (it’s been above and below this for the last little while, so I’d say it’s a fair average). $95,000 / 1.20 = 79,167 litres of gas. Assuming a 60-litre tank (I’d venture to guess that most commuter cars have smaller tanks), that’s 1,319 tanks of gas. Let’s assume you filled it once a week (maybe a little less frequently, but not out of the question for a 9-to-5-Monday-to-Friday commuter), that is about 25 years of gasoline for your car. Now obviously, this isn’t very scientific, and doesn’t account for inflation and the inevitable rise in the cost of oil, but it sure does illustrate that the gas savings argument doesn’t hold water.

Some other interesting tidbits in the study (again, all other factors being equal):

  • Newer homes (10 years old or less) carried a 14% premium
  • A home with a view averaged a 10% premium
  • Older homes (30 or more years old) were 6% cheaper

If you’d like to read the entire report (which includes economic and housing outlooks for 2012 for the entire region), you can find it here.

So, knowing this, would you like to know more about moving to Sooke? Drop me a line or leave a comment – I’d be happy to get you all the information you need.




Published by Tim Ayres

Tim Ayres is a Sooke and Victoria BC REALTOR®, with Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty. Tim is actively involved in helping clients buying and selling real estate in the southern Vancouver Island region. Tim is an active member of the Victoria Real Estate Board and served seven years (2009-2015) as a director, including serving as President in 2014.

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