Real estate for sale signs outside a condo building on Meares Street. The real estate market in Victoria and Esquimalt are seeing positive returns this fall.

HOMEFINDER: Victoria and Esquimalt real estate market shows strong fall sales

Local sales help push the regional numbers to 565 sold properties in September

While house sale prices remain somewhat flat, a significant increase in sales has the Victoria Real Estate Board optimistic about local market.

Victoria and Esquimalt sales helped push the regional numbers to 565 properties sold in September, an increase of 16 per cent over the same month last year.

And the quarter ending in September shows a 15 per cent increase in the number of sales overall compared to the same quarter in 2013, Victoria Real Estate Board president Tim Ayres said this week.

“We haven’t seen sales like this in September since 2009,” Ayres said in announcing the numbers.

“The balanced market conditions we’ve seen over the last seven months mean property prices are stable, so it might be more comfortable for buyers and sellers to make a move because they know that property values are predictable.”

This predictability means buyers know if they need to wait to find the right house, they needn’t worry about quickly rising prices, and sellers know that if they’re priced right, they’ll likely find a buyer.

The Multiple Listing Service Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core this time last year was $550,900. This month the benchmark value increased to $556,200. The benchmark price for Greater Victoria condos sat at $287,100 this September, compared to $283,900 in September 2013, while the benchmark for townhouses showed a marginal increase to $401,500 in September 2014 from $400,000 in 2013.

In this diverse market with a good mix of both entry-level and luxury residences, single-family homes and multi-family properties, Ayres hasn’t noticed a single sector really outperforming others; the key seems to be in pricing the property appropriately, he said.

At the same time, Victoria does seem to show a renewed interest in condominiums.

“The people I talk to that are in condos are definitely noticing an increase in demand or an least interest that they haven’t seen for awhile,” Ayres said.

“If the projects are smart and they pay attention to what people want, they are going to continue to do well.”

Looking forward, Ayres anticipates more people in larger markets – Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and to some extent the prairie cities – selling their homes and moving west. “I think it’s only a matter of time before we see some of them (coming to the Island.)

Locally,  Ayres expects the busy fall to continue for realtors.

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see a busier October than we’ve seen in a few years,” he said.

“Usually you have until about the last week of November before things start to slow down (for the holidays),” he said, noting that even then, those looking to sell benefit from the typically reduced number of homes on the market.

“Things always open up in the fall and early in the new year; there’s definitely people looking and generally less competition.”