A sandy beach on James Island, near Sidney. The privately-owned island was once again the most valuable piece of private property in the Capital Regional District at $56.47 million.


Property owners on Greater Victoria will find a mixed bag of results when their annual property-assessment notices start landing in mailboxes this week.


In Victoria, owners of single-family homes are likely to see values drop slightly, while condo owners are more likely to see an increase.


Oak Bay saw the greatest decrease in Greater Victoria in the average value of a single-family home, with a six percent drop to $1.14 million.


The Crown corporation says this year’s assessments reflect a slowdown in the Greater Victoria real estate market.

The assessment is an estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1, 2019 and physical condition as of Oct. 31, 2019.


• Assessments, which are used to calculate property-tax bills, are available online at bcassessment.ca.


Most of Greater Victoria’s 13 municipalities saw the typically assessed value of single-family homes either drop or stay the same as last year, according to information released Thursday by B.C. Assessment.


It shows the residential property values for a typical single-family home dropped by as much as six percent in Oak Bay, while homes in Highlands and Central Saanich saw no change.


Only Langford, Sooke and View Royal saw increases in the typical assessment. All other municipalities saw values drop.


That should come as no surprise to property owners after B.C. Assessment warned last month values could drop by as much as 10 percent in some areas of Greater Victoria due to a softening of the real estate market.

The Crown agency said some single-family homeowners could see increases of as much as five percent.

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January 2, 2020,


Victoria Real Estate Market wraps up a relatively flat year for home sales A total of 402 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this December, 7.2 percent more than the 375 properties sold in December 2018 and a 30.3 percent decrease from November 2019. Sales of condominiums were up 17.5 percent from December 2018 with 121 units sold. Sales of single-family homes increased 13.8 percent from December 2018 with 198 sold.


A grand total of 7,255 properties sold over the course of 2019, 1.47 percent more than the 7,150 that sold in 2018. 2019 sales came in at slightly under the ten-year average of 7,413 properties sold.


“Overall, our market throughout 2019 can be characterized as still active, slow to grow and low in supply,” says 2019 Victoria Real Estate Board President Cheryl Woolley. “Last year we saw many prospective buyers sit on the sidelines waiting for inventory to be added. As a result of this unmet demand, there was and continues to be a push from consumers to create townhomes and condos at accessible price points. We began 2019 discussing the potential impact of various taxes and lending rules introduced by the federal and provincial governments that were designed to calm housing market activity - although this activity had already begun to slow following our hyper-active market in 2016/17. The most impactful government change we saw was the tighter mortgage lending rules, which lowered consumer borrowing power and made many unable to qualify for the value of mortgages they had in the past, therefore compressing more demand into our mid- and lower-priced property market.”


There were 1,952 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of December 2019, a decrease of 18.6 percent compared to the month of November and a 1.8 percent decrease from the 1,988 active listings for sale at the end of December 2018.


“Constant demand on this middle housing segment has put a moderate amount of pressure on pricing,” adds Woolley. “And although we did not see huge price increases through 2019 as we did in the run-up through 2016, we do see buyers entering into multiple offer situations and competing for properties. The high end of the market – over $1.5 million – has been softer, which is nice for a very small percentage of buyers in our area, but difficult on sellers who have seen some equity erode. The theme heading into 2020 does for now appear to be the limited selection of single-family homes and growth in pressure for more condos and townhomes. What remains consistent is that in this complex market, buyers and sellers value the assistance of their REALTOR® to navigate one of the biggest purchases most will make in their lifetime."


The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single-family home in the Victoria Core in December 2018 was $860,400. The benchmark value for the same home in December 2019 decreased by 0.6 percent to $855,000, slightly less than November’s value of $855,400. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in December.


VREB

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Housing Market Adjusts to Mortgage Stress Test
BCREA 2019 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update


Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province are forecast to increase 2 per cent to 80,000 units this year, after recording 78,345 residential sales in 2018. MLS® residential sales are forecast to increase a further 6.9 per cent to 85,500 units in 2020. The 10-year average for MLS® residential sales in the province is 85,800 units.

“The negative shock to affordability and purchasing power created by the B20 stress test on mortgage borrowers is expected to continue constraining housing demand in the province this year,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Favourable demographics along with continuing strong performance of the BC economy is expected to underpin housing demand over the next two years.”

The policy-induced demand shock has contributed to an increase of the inventory of homes for sale in most regions of the province. As a result, market conditions are expected to provide little upward pressure on home prices this year, with the average annual residential price forecast to remain essentially unchanged, albeit up 0.5 per cent to $716,100. Modest improvement in consumer demand is expected to unfold over the next two years as households further adjust to the mortgage stress test.


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Study Reveals ‘Starbucks Effect’ on Home Prices. 


Having a Starbucks open near a neighbourhood could increase nearby home values, potentially by a few thousand dollars, a new study from Harvard Business School finds. The study’s authors focused on the gentrification of neighbourhoods using Yelp data but discovered the “Starbucks effect” during their research.


A cappucino with the foam showing a smiling creature

lauramusikanski - Morguefile


Using Yelp data to find the entry of each Starbucks in a ZIP code, researchers found a 0.5 percent increase in housing prices within a year after a Starbucks opens. 

Harvard economics professor Edward Glaeser says he believes the home price rises are not due to the actual Starbucks opening but may be more of an indicator of affluent customers in the area.

"The presence of a Starbucks is far less important than whether the community has people who consume Starbucks," Glaeser notes in the paper. "Consequently, we think that this variable is likely to be a proxy for gentrification itself. … The most natural hypothesis to us is that restaurants respond to exogenous changes in neighbourhood composition, not that restaurant availability is driving neighbourhood change.”

Overall, gentrification, according to the paper says, is “strongly associated” with increases in the numbers of grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, and bars.

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NOTE: MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification. This website may only be used by consumers for the purpose of locating and purchasing real estate.