Low inventory and high prices starting to bite in core neighbourhoods

For a year it’s come up regularly that at some point we must be hitting minimum inventory levels and sales just can’t be sustained because there isn’t anything to sell.  Well the market continued to prove everyone wrong, with December matching the year before despite there being 1000 less properties for sale.  At the same time prices in the core have appreciated more than the outer areas.

We’ve managed to eek out year over year increases every month in 2016 but if you look closer, some of the most popular neighbourhoods seem to have hit a wall in 2016 and sales have fallen year over year.   Oak Bay is the most prominent one, with large sales declines compared to last year.

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2016 Year in Review

How to sum up 2016 for Victoria real estate?   Well it’s been an eventful one.  After several years of languishing and complete boredom in the market, things got exciting both in the local, provincial, and national spheres.   I think I’ve written enough superlatives about the months of the year and I don’t need to rehash the various regulatory and policy changes we’ve experienced.

Looking back it’s not like we didn’t have warning.   Since mid 2013 the market has been improving at a remarkably steady pace.  Just like water boiling the proverbial frog, market conditions were improving so slowly and steadily that no one really thought that much of it.   However in the spring a small swell of out of town buyers combined with improved local affordability to put the market into overdrive.   Once that hit the news it sparked full scale panic and fear of missing out amongst those watching the market and the rest is history. Continue reading

2016 Assessments Now Available

Unless you were one of the lucky few thousand that got an early warning about your assessments, you should be getting some mail next week with the updated assessed value of your house.   Luckily it’s the Age of Computer and while that might mean that nobody knows exactly what’s going on, it does mean we all get to look at assessment values of friends and strangers online.

Given the market insanity in the past year, you can expect some big increases, but remember, that doesn’t mean you will necessarily be paying more property tax.   Yes, your property tax is set as a percentage of your assessed value but those percentages are re-calculated every year.  If your assessed value has gone up by a percentage that is similar to the rest of the properties in your municipality you can expect your taxes to only increase to cover the growth in the city’s budget.   So the property tax rates will actually go down in a year where assessed values jump.   If the assessed value seems out of whack, make sure that the property information is correct and take a look at the sample sold properties that BC Assessment thinks are comparable to yours.   Remember that the assessors are not actually visiting your house in most cases so if you know something they don’t you can always appeal your assessment and try to have it lowered.   The deadline for appeals is January 31st and as it seems our property information has an error I will try the appeal and document the process here.

What are you seeing in your area?