Buyers are finally getting a break in the Victoria Real Estate market due to government intervention in the real estate market by way of provincial taxes and tighter mortgage qualifications. The month of June saw a 29.8% decline in sales in this market over June 2017. Listings are still lagging from the ten year average of 4,100 listings. Currently there are 2,595 active listings.
The proposed Speculation Tax is fuelling much of the uncertainty. I stopped by my MLA’s office to find out more about the process of adopting this tax. Apparently there will be a vote scheduled to ratify the tax in October, once the Legislature reconvenes. The Green Party representative is quite confident that if it did get adopted, it would be substantially different from the current proposal and the retroactive tax for 2018 would not be acceptable. Meanwhile it contributes to uncertainty for out-of-town homeowners.
According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, apartment and condominium construction in Greater Victoria has pushed the region’s housing starts for the first five months ahead of the same time a year ago. A total of 1,256 homes were started by the end of May. Of those, 926 were condos and apartments and 330 were single family homes. That’s compared to 939 total starts from January through May 2017. Rental demand is the largest driver of housing starts.
According to Statistics Canada, in May Greater Victoria and Quebec City were tied with the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.9% - below the national rate of 5.8%.
Construction companies are finding it difficult to line up skilled trades workers, who are in high demand right now. In May, 18,600 people were working in construction in Victoria, up from 16,700 last year.
Various bank economists are suggesting that the Bank of Canada governor will now not call for a rate hike on July 11th due to broadening economic unknowns – mostly linked to trade concerns around U.S. President Trump’s protection agenda.
An annual cost-of-living survey shows Toronto and Vancouver are Canada’s most expensive cities. Mercer’s survey ranks about 375 cities around the world and considers factors such as the cost of housing, transportation, food, clothing and other expenses compared with New York City as the base.
In this year’s ranking, Toronto advanced 10 spots to the 109th spot and Vancouver fell two spots to tie with Toronto.
Come to Victoria!
Wishing you a wonderful summer.