LANGFORD – Richard Robinson is making the move back to Vancouver Island from Winnipeg and he’s ready to buy right now. “I sold my snow blower before I came out on this trip so I have to move at this point” Robinson laughs.
He plans to retire on the West Shore and is pleased to be shopping in a soft market very different from the one he left. “For some homes there’s still a bidding war that takes place when you’re selling in Winnipeg and fortunately that was the case for my home.”
He is not expecting to pay more than asking price in Langford. Year over year sales and prices are flat in Greater Victoria’s core municipalities. Sales are down on the Saanich Peninsula but prices are steady. On the West Shore sales are down and prices are falling too. In fact single family home sales on the West Shore are down close to 40% from last year, even lower than in 2008 when the global economic crisis hit.
“There are definitely a lot of price drops, and homes are sitting on the market a long time” says realtor Marko Juras with Fair Realty. But he says many sellers don’t seem to be getting the message and pricing their homes five to 10 percent more than they’re now worth. “There are very few buyers out there. You want to make sure your home is priced well enough that if a buyer is looking at 10 houses for example, they walk into your home and see the value in your home.”
If you’re thinking of selling your home soon and you’re getting worried, sales may have fallen off a cliff but Juras says prices are very unlikely to do the same. He’s predicting a flat market for the next year or two, or small price drops of maybe two to three percent per year at most. “Victoria has a stable, diversified economy, the interest rates are still extremely affordable, and unemployment is low. People predicting large price corrections, that’s very difficult to do.” West Shore homeowners we spoke to are hoping to ride out any kind of extended slump. “I hope by the time I’m ready to get out things will be back to where they should be again” says one woman.
Juras points out the Greater Victoria market was flat from 1991-2000. It could be awhile.
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