Victoria real estate prices to continue rising amid property shortage

VICTORIA—It’s still the dead of winter in much of Canada, but in Victoria daffodils and crocuses are about to begin sprouting, marking the unofficial signal to start another real estate season for anxious home buyers and sellers.The Victoria Real Estate Board says a repeat of last year’s record-smashing property sales that saw constant bidding wars on southern Vancouver Island is not in the forecast for 2017. But prices are expected to continue rising amid a market of too few available homes.Expectations that foreign buyers would flock to Victoria to avoid the 15-per-cent Metro Vancouver home tax has not happened, instead purchasers are arriving from other areas of the country, outgoing Victoria real estate board chief Mike Nugent said Monday.“There’s certainly no evidence so far of showing a big shift of foreign buyers to Victoria,” he said. “As soon as [the Metro Vancouver home tax] was implemented everybody phoned and said, ‘what are the numbers like? You must be getting an avalanche.’”Government data shows there were 90 deals involving foreign buyers in Victoria between June 10 and Aug. 1, before the tax was implemented. In the latest numbers, Nov. 1 to Nov. 30, there were 39 property transfers involving foreign buyers.Article Continued BelowThe percentage of property transfers involving foreign buyers in Victoria went from 3.9 per cent in June to August, before the tax, to 4.6 per cent in November.In the Vancouver area, there was a steep drop in real estate transactions after the tax took effect.The data reveals the number of property transfers in Metro Vancouver went from a high of 1,974 just prior to the introduction of the foreign buyers tax to a low of 60 in the weeks after the tax. The number started to move upwards last November, hitting 204 property transfers involving foreign nationals.

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