A shrinking number of properties for sale in Greater Victoria is translating into fewer sales, despite strong demand.
“The real estate story right now continues to be inventory,” David Langlois, president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, said Tuesday as July sales statistics were released.
At the end of July, there were just 1,270 listings — down by 52.1 per cent from the 2,653 properties on the market at the same time a year ago.
Inventory dropped by 7.6 per cent, or 1,375 listings, last month from the previous month.
“The market is driven by inventory and fewer home listings lead to fewer home sales,” Langlois said. “In that context, these numbers do not reflect a downturn in our market but reveal sales falling due to this continued trend of low inventory.”
A total of 835 properties sold last month, down by 14.7 per cent from the 979 sales in July 2020, the board’s report said.
Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president for RE/MAX western Canada, said the real estate market is returning to normal patterns, as sale are typically lower in July and August after a stronger spring.
He predicts inventories will rise in the capital region because that’s what happening in major markets across the country. “We are seeing inventory levels starting to increase. I’m confident we will see it higher in Victoria as well.”
Prices in the capital region have remained strong so far this year.
The benchmark price for a single-family home in the core was $1.082 million in July, up by 1.7 per cent from June.
A year ago, that benchmark was at $909,900.
Benchmark refers to the value of a home in a particular area over time, a method the real estate industry says more accurately reflects the market than average prices.
In May, the benchmark price for a single-family house in the core topped $1 million for the first time, although the average price had surpassed $1 million previously. The core consists of Victoria, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Saanich and View Royal.
For many people, a single-family house in the core area is financially out of reach, a factor driving condominium construction and sales. Condos are typically less costly than a single-family house.
The benchmark value for a condominium in the core in July was $535,100, an 8.1 per cent increase from $494,900 in July 2020, the board said.
Langlois said it’s important for the long-term health of the housing market that the region maintains a “strong focus” on developing new homes to meet growing demand.
For the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, north of the Malahat, where inventory is also tight, 450 single-family homes were sold, down 15 per cent from 531 in June. In the condo apartment category, sales dropped by seven per cent from June. However, row/townhouse sales rose by 29 per cent from the previous month.
Canadian Real Estate Prices To Fall More Than Expected: Desjardins – Better Dwelling – Better Dwelling
B.C. ‘clear’ there’s not enough housing as Vancouver encampment ordered dismantled
VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s acting attorney general says the province was “clear” with Vancouver officials that the Crown corporation responsible for subsidized housing does not have enough spaces available for people who are being told to dismantle their tents along a street in the city’s Downtown Eastside.
Murray Rankin, who is also minister responsible for housing, says housing is a human right, and the “deeply concerning scenes from Hastings Street demonstrate how much more work we have to do to make that a reality for everyone in our communities.”
Rankin in a statement Friday says BC Housing has accelerated efforts to secure new housing for encampment residents including pursuing new sites to lease or buy and expediting renovations on single-room occupancy units as they become vacant.
He says BC Housing is aiming to make a “limited number” of renovated units available next week, with more opening later in the fall.
Vancouver fire Chief Karen Fry ordered tents set up along Hastings Street sidewalks dismantled last month, saying there was an extreme fire and safety risk.
Police blocked traffic Tuesday as city staff began what’s expected to be a weeks-long process of dismantling the encampment but little had changed by the end of the week with most residents staying put, saying they have nowhere to go.
The city has said staff plan to approach encampment residents with “respect and sensitivity” to encourage the voluntary removal of their tents and belongings.
Community advocacy groups, including the Vancouver Area of Drug Users and Pivot Legal Society, have said clearing the encampment violates a memorandum of understanding between the city, the B.C. government and Vancouver’s park board, because people are being told to move without being offered suitable housing.
The stated aim of the agreement struck last March is to connect unsheltered people to housing and preserve their dignity when dismantling encampments.
The City of Vancouver may enforce bylaws that prohibit structures on sidewalks “when suitable spaces are available for people to move indoors,” it reads.
The province is not involved in the fire chief’s order or the enforcement of local bylaws, which prohibit structures on sidewalks, but it is “bringing all of BC Housing’s resources to bear to do what we can to secure housing for people, Rankin said.
“I recognize the profound uncertainty and upheaval people impacted by the fire order are facing, and we will provide updates on this work as we have news to share,” he said.
Rankin, who had been serving as minister of Indigenous relations, was appointed acting attorney general after David Eby stepped down to run for leadership of the B.C. NDP.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2022.
The Canadian Press
Mismanaged real estate deals land B.C. lawyer two-month suspension – Business in Vancouver
Mismanaged trust accounts have landed a ban on residential real estate conveyancing for a B.C. lawyer.
A Law Society of BC tribunal panel has suspended Surrey lawyer Serf Grewal after determining he unintentionally misappropriated tens of thousands of dollars of trust funds.
Grewal was found to have committed several breaches of law society rules, largely related to real estate. As such he’s also been barred from future residential real estate conveyancing.
“The proven misconduct,” stated the society, “includes unintentional misappropriation of slightly over $42,000 of client trust funds, due to trust shortages and accounting errors, mishandling of a further $3,770 of client trust funds which resulted in a trust shortage that he did not report to the law society, improper withdrawal of $5,500 held in trust for fees before delivering bills to the client, failure to comply with accounting obligations over a four year period, and improperly commissioning an affidavit by not personally witnessing the attestation.”
Grewal’s suspension was said to be curtailed from what may have been a longer one, granted there was “evidence establishing that none of Grewal’s misconduct arose from dishonesty or deliberate misconduct for personal gain.”
As well, “the panel also considered evidence of a clear connection between Grewal’s misconduct and mental health issues related to childhood and personal trauma, and that the consequences flowed from his decision to report that trauma,” noted the society in a statement Aug. 10.
Grewal was also ordered to undertake trust account supervision and educational courses.
He claimed his annual income was in the range of $45,000 to $50,000 and so the tribunal panel afforded him 16 months to pay $9,000 in costs.
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