Blog by Mark Longpre

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Victoria area real estate sales up 24% over last year

Greater Victoria’s real estate market recuperated in 2009 to end the year with a 24 per cent jump in the total number of sales and a 21 per cent climb in the total value of those transactions.

Sales early last year crashed as part of the fallout of the economic crisis. They picked up later in the year, as interest rates stayed low and confidence rose.

“Given the significant world-wide economic downturn, we were very pleased to see the real estate market recovering so quickly,” Randi Masters, new president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, said today.

“With interest rates expected to remain low in the coming months, we are anticipating a strong and balanced market in the coming year.”

Last year delivered a total of 8,096 sales through the board’s Multiple Listing Service, up from 6,519 in 2008.

The total combined value of the sales was $3.77 billion last year, up from $3.11 billion the previous year, the board said.

Overall prices held fairly steady. For single-family homes — the biggest seller in the capital region — average prices slid by less than one per cent in 2009 from the previous year. Townhouse prices were steady, and condominiums dropped by less than three per cent, the board said.

Of the 4,117 single-family homes which sold in 2009, Saanich East and West together had the highest number, at 1,289, followed by Langford at 580, and Victoria at 513. The average price was $580,748 and the median was $527,750.

A total of 2,157 condominiums sold last year in the capital region. Victoria saw 992 condos change hands, the largest number in the region. The average price was $311,536, and the median was $283,000.

Victoria remains a desirable location to buy properties, with waterfront often commanding sales of $1 million or more. Last year, a total of 199 properties changed hands for $1 million and up, an increase from the 185 sales in that range in 2008, the board said.

In December, 453 sales were completed, down from 604 in November. The average price of a single-family house was $651,316 last month and the median was $555,000. There were a total of 16 sales of more than $1 million, including a sale of more than $5 million in Central Saanich, which pushed up the average price.

For condominiums, the average price last month was $345,907, and the median was $289,000. The average for townhouses was $477,998, and the median was $422,500.