Spring Market Update 2021

It was one of the busiest February on record for Victoria’s real estate market with 836 unconditional and completed sales.

That shatters the previous all-time record which was 780 sales in 1992. Runner-up was 772 sales in 2016.

Record High Prices & Purchasing Activity

We’ll Victoria ignored it’s winter hibernation this year. Real estate buyers were out in droves all winter, and continue to prop up the market to new heights.

Demand is exceptionally strong, which is further confirmed by year over year price growth remains well above historic averages.

The average price for a single family detached home remains at $1,221,000 – which is remarkably higher than the $912,000 average price in February of 2020 (pre covid). The single family home market breezed past the 1 million mark in June of 2020, and hasn’t slowed down. Prices will sustain themselves because there are fewer than 400 single family homes available across the entire system. In a typical year we will see the most amount of inventory go online in April and May, but if the current trend continues, we will see only around half of the number of new listings compared to what was normally seen in the past.

The average prices have been propped up by a strong luxury market. February saw 30 homes sell for over $2M – with 12 of those going for at or above asking price. One luxury equestrian estate was listed at $6M and still sold for $155k over asking. There were even 3 condos sales for over $2M – one of which was the penthouse at Hudson Place One – the tallest building in Victoria.

Condominium prices hit an average of $535,500 this month, inching up from the slowly from the $524,000 average price last year. There are approx. 437 active condominium listings across the region, which is also far below our 10 year average. That means there is less than 2 month of inventory. On the Westshore, condo’s are selling within the first week on market, and in the Victoria core area they are selling within 2 – 3 weeks, a little bit slower.

There were approx. 350 new condo listings that came online this month, but the majority of them got absorbed by this insatiable marketplace. It is interesting to note that the newly completed Yates on Yates building has 14 active listings, but not one of them has sold in the past 2 months.

So here’s what you expect in today’s market.

  • Mob like numbers of people showing up and scheduling tours of new listings.
  • Multiple offer situations on nearly all properties, regardless of price point.
  • Bully offers being submitted within hours of the property being listed
  • Non-refundable earnest monies made directly available to Sellers.
  • Waiving all buyer protection contingencies.
  • Buyer’s making up the difference in the inevitable low appraisal situations.

If you’re a Seller – it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the heavily depleted market.

If you’re a buyer – you don’t want to miss the super low interest rates.

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How to Write Competitive Offers in a Hot Real Estate Market

Aerial image of the Oak Bay Beach Hotel and beautiful Oak Bay coastline.

Victoria is amidst a severe supply shortage in the single-family home market. Listings are down nearly 30% and demand is way up when compared to the same period last year.

The real estate board recently stated, “This represents the lowest inventory of active listings at month-end in at least the last 25 years”.

It is currently commonplace to see bidding wars and sales well over the asking price.

In this market, every detail in your offer makes an impact on whether it is accepted. Here are three tips to ensure your offer is as strong as possible:

  1. Submit an unconditional offer – sellers will often accept unconditional offers over conditional offers even if the sale price is 3-5% less.
  2. Give the sellers their EXACT preferred closing dates – making the transaction convenient for the seller makes them more likely to accept your offer.
  3. Shorten the subject period – 8-10 business days is the typical length for a subject period but reducing this to 4-5 days will make your offer stand out.

In the current market, being quick to act is crucial. The average number of days on the market has reduced significantly in January 2021 as buyers get a head-start on the spring homebuying season. This demand is fueled by rock-bottom interest rates and a preference for single-family homes triggered by COVID.

in the table below, you’ll notice there are significantly more sold than pending properties – this is due to seasonality as January is not a popular month to move homes.

Sales and pending prices above the asking price are becoming more common. You can see the homes most recently listed are often selling for above their asking price. This indicates that the market is heating up in anticipation of a strong spring home-buyers season.

Oak Bay January 2021 Sold & Pending Listings (Single-family)

wdt_ID Status Address Price List Price Sold List vs. Sold Beds Baths SqFt Fin Total Year Built (Est) Lot Size SqFt Date Listed Days On Market
1 P 591 Island Rd 3,600,000 3,850,000 250,000 4 3 3,193 1986 16,900 2021-01-28 0
2 P 3275 Ripon Rd 2,100,000 2,190,000 90,000 3 4 2,865 1957 23,925 2021-01-18 1
3 P 3466 Plymouth Rd 1,249,000 1,215,000 -34,000 3 2 1,640 1959 14,649 2021-01-15 14
4 P 836 Monterey Ave 999,000 1,065,000 66,000 3 1 1,268 1935 5,472 2021-01-15 4
5 P 3300 Exeter Rd 2,380,000 2,250,000 -130,000 5 5 4,429 1957 20,398 2021-01-14 9
6 P 2161 Beaverbrooke St 1,350,000 1,310,000 -40,000 3 4 1,933 2016 3,049 2021-01-08 11
7 P 2776 Thompson Ave 1,295,000 1,350,000 55,000 5 3 2,305 1936 6,850 2021-01-06 12
8 P 2545 Beach Dr 1,399,000 1,611,000 212,000 4 3 2,994 1988 7,500 2021-01-04 4
9 P 117 Barkley Terr 2,359,000 2,320,000 -39,000 3 4 3,666 1962 11,665 2021-01-03 18
10 P 1552 Clive Dr 2,150,000 2,050,000 -100,000 4 4 2,824 1948 5,000 2021-01-01 25

If you’d like help navigating and capitalizing on the current real estate market, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Dustin Miller is an advocate for transparent real estate data and prides himself on having Vancouver Island’s most popular sold home database on the internet. If you’d like to search for recently sold home prices in your neighbourhood, use our interactive map feature.

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Oak Bay seeks to finalize regulations on secondary suites

At last Monday’s (Jan 11) council meeting, Urban Systems presented the council with a draft strategy on policy options for secondary suites in Oak Bay. The draft strategy proposed a spectrum of options with variables such as parking requirements, permissible zoning, minimum lot sizes, and owner-occupancy requirements.

Unlike the recent news in Saanich, secondary suites in the form of garden or laneway homes are not being considered. Suites must be limited to the existing footprint of the house in these proposed legislation options.

The Secondary Suites Study was initiated as part of a larger housing framework program. It is supported by policy provisions within the Official Community Plan (OCP) to permit secondary suites within the community. 

The five-phased study commenced nearly four years ago in 2018 – reflecting how slow the region’s municipalities are to address the current housing issues. Oak Bay is currently in Phase Four with Phase Five: The Final Adoption Strategy anticipated to occur in March 2021 at a public council meeting.

Urban Systems studied other BC municipalities that have recently introduced secondary suite bylaws. From these case studies, they proposed six scenarios ranging from least restrictive to most restrictive. The least restrictive option (Scenario A) suggests that secondary suites should be allowed of any size, in any single-family home, and with no registration required. At the other end of the spectrum, Scenario F suggests required rezoning, additional parking requirements, and mandatory business licensing.

Scenario A does not require any additional municipal staff while Scenario F will require up to two more full-time employees.

Oak Bay will likely opt to enact one of the more restrictive of the six scenarios, as suggested from the tone in recent council meetings.

Secondary suites are currently not permitted in the municipality meaning the estimated 500-750 current suites are “unauthorized”. Despite the current lack of legislation, the majority of Oak Bay residents support basement suites. In a study conducted in 2014, 78% supported permitting and regulating secondary suites.

Legalizing in-law suites is one of the most politically popular methods of increasing the housing supply. This form of gentle density does not increase building footprints or change the appearance of a neighbourhood. In-law suites also promote multi-generational households allowing for “aging in place”.

As will all urban planning issues, opponents and the vocal minority are ever-present. Neighbourhood community association, “Oak Bay Watch”, lobbies in opposition to allowing income suites. They cite that “the city will require more revenue to support the population increase” and “the probability of fire is greatly increased”. Concerns about parking and increased property taxes were also raised. Oak Bay has the lowest vacancy rate in the region at 0.2% (Oct 2019). This vacancy rate is a symptom of low rental stock. As of 2018, there were 1080 primary (purpose-built) rental units, and this figure has not changed in several years. The number of rental households in Oak Bay even decreased from 2090 in 2006 to 1830 in 2016.

The full Oak Bay Secondary Suite Study can be read here.

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TOP 10: Victoria Multi-family Investment Sales of 2020 under $1,000,000

In no specific order, we have selected our favourite 2020 multi-family sales under $1,000,000 in Victoria.

2103 Fernwood Road, Victoria

2103 Fernwood is a charming Heritage designated home – now converted to a triplex revenue property. The main house features a 3-Bed unit and a 2-Bed unit. The carriage house to the rear of the property is a 1-Bedroom unit. Furthermore, pride of ownership is evident by the tasteful updates and beautifully kept hard-wood floors.

List: $1,075,000
Sold: $935,000
Days on Market: 32
Date Sold: March 23, 2020

3386/3390 Veteran Street, Saanich

This revenue duplex is on a MASSIVE lot at ¼ of an acre. At 11,055 square feet, there is potential to subdivide and rebuild larger. The lot is also zoned RD-1 meaning the duplex is legally conforming unlike many other revenue properties to appear on the market. 3386/3390 was snapped up quickly for over asking price.

List: $865,000
Sold: $925,000
Days on Market: 8
Date Sold: March 2, 2020

3007 Tillicum Road, Saanich

This side-by-side duplex features a suite in each of the units – a total of 4 units. 3007 Tillicum’s revenue is excellent as each unit is nicely updated and features 2-Bedrooms. Noteably, this property sat on the market for a couple of months but eventually sold for a great price.

List: $1,159,000
Sold: $990,000
Days on Market: 153
Date Sold: May 15, 2020

1735 Kings Road, Victoria

A unique 1910 duplex located in Jubilee features an upper and lower suite. Functionally, the upper unit is a 3-Bed unit while the lower is a 2-Bed unit. The property is also quite large at 7,500 SF. The reasonable price point and unfinished basement create significant potential.

List: $885,000
Sold: $890,000
Days on Market: 18
Date Sold: February 21, 2020

27 San Jose Ave, Victoria

Located in James Bay, 27 San Jose is the most reasonably priced property on this list. It features three 1-Bedroom units on a quaint 4,480 SF lot.

List: $1,098,000
Sold: $760,000
Days on Market: 153
Date Sold: May 15, 2020

1018 Bay Street, Victoria

1018 Bay Street is revenue 4-plex featuring exclusively 1-Bedroom suites. The gross monthly income is $4300. This character home was built in 1912 and sits proudly on a 5,950 square-foot lot.

List: $849,900
Sold: $810,000
Days on Market: 45
Date Sold: August 8, 2020

872 Old Esquimalt Road, Esquimalt

Legal duplex on a 9600 square-foot lot. Excellent proximity to several amenities such as Wholesale Club and many restaurants. Each unit feature 2-Bedrooms and in-suite laundry.

List: $875,000
Sold: $850,000
Days on Market: 7
Date Sold: November 19, 2020

2780,2790 Dean Avenue, Saanich

Boasting 3-Bedrooms per suite in this side-by-side duplex, the location speaks for itself. Additionally, each side also has its own driveway and garage.

List: $1,095,000
Sold: $997,000
Days on Market: 50
Date Sold: June 3, 2020

341, 343 Vancouver Street, Victoria

Excellent location in the heart of Cook Street Village. This legal non-conforming duplex offers an unfinished basement leaving significant upside potential. The units are side-by-side with one being a 1-Bedroom and the other a bachelor suite.

List: $1,095,000
Sold: $980,000
Days on Market: 70
Date Sold: January 8, 2020

601 Toronto Street, Victoria

601 Toronto is a beautiful Queen Anne home built in 1891 and has since been converted to an up/down duplex. The suites offer 10 foot+ ceilings and 2-Bedroom in each unit. Typical for James Bay, the lot is on the smaller side at 2,312 square feet.

List: $985,000
Sold: $960,000
Days on Market: 66
Date Sold: August 31, 2020

Check out other sold multifamily investment listings here. We also publish our annual multi-family report for properties over $1,000,000.

 If you’d like to stay up to date on the market, we can set up a property search tailored to your specific criteria. We believe an open and transparent marketplace benefits everybody.

If you’re looking for someone who’s not your typical REALTOR®, reach out to Dustin. In today’s world, following the status quo just isn’t enough.

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New Industrial Park announced by PC Urban – Colwood BC

PC Urban Properties of Vancouver has submitted a proposal to construct three industrial-commercial buildings on the former Galaxy Motors Colwood property. The site at 1764 Island Highway rests opposite of Juan de Fuca Rec Centre and represents 4.82 acres.

Totaling 135,000 saleable square-feet, the proposed buildings will consist of industrial-commercial uses with office space on the upper floors. Two of the buildings will be 1-storey tall with the largest being 4-storeys.

This sale is the latest in a wave of recent West Shore industrial land sales. The former Galaxy Motors site at 1764 Island Highway traded in December 2020 for $10,500,000 equating to $2,180,000/acre.

Industrial development land is in high demand driven by significant year-over-year industrial lease rates increases. Average industrial lease rates in Victoria are up 15% in 2020 to $15 per square foot. For perspective, Vancouver – another market with a severe supply shortage – averaged $13.12 per square foot.

These buildings will add much-needed supply to the West Shore industrial real estate market. The industrial vacancy rate is historically low at a mere 0.7% – the lowest among capital cities in Western Canada.

Reflective of strong demand, the City of Colwood currently has several more industrial projects in the development pipeline. Other notable projects include a 20-acre industrial park proposed by Omnicron Development and Lotus Capital for the Allandale Lands on Veterans Memorial Parkway.

The push for more industrial real estate in Colwood was facilitated by the adoption of a new Official Community Plan (OCP) in 2018. Among other changes, a zone called “Mixed-Use Employment” was created to foster more jobs in the local area. This initiative aims to surrender Colwood’s reputation as a bedroom-community and broaden its tax base.

8X provides coverage of major Commercial Real Estate transactions in Greater Victoria. Visit our Commercial Real Estate Sales Page for more information on the latest on and off-market deals.

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Depreciation Report Funding Scenarios – Which one did the strata choose?

I often get asked; which of 3 funding scenario did the strata choose?

This question inevitability comes up when working with condo purchasers. They often don’t like what I have to say – none of them.

The depreciation report is a provincially mandated report that does a review of the physical and financial health of the strata corporation. An engineer takes a physical inventory of the common property assets, estimates the remaining life span, and estimates the potential costs of replacement in future dollars.

The engineering firm takes all these costs and builds them into financial projections over the next 30 years. The report talks about the relationship between expenditures and the strata corporations reserve fund.

The report typically categorizes the items into:

  • 1) catch up costs – complete deferred maintenance and renewals
  • 2) keep up costs – costs to complete planned cyclical upkeep maintenance
  • 3) get ahead costs – proactive costs to adapt, upgrade, and improve

The engineers then typically come up three (3) contingency reserve fund cash flow scenarios based on those projected expenditures.

1st scenario – the status quo

is typically the current allocation, the status quo. A scenario where the strata continues with its current level of contributions and maintenance programs. This scenario plays out will happen if the strata opts to not make any changes to its contingency reserve fund program – maintaining the status quo.

2nd scenario – the incremental alternative

The 2nd scenario, is typically the status quo with an incremental annual increase to the contingency fund contribution – keep in mind your monthly strata payment is broken down into two components – the operating fund and the contingency fund.

In this 2nd scenario, the engineer typically picks a rate of 10 – 30% increase in the contingency component (not your total strata fee), so that any near term special levies would be substantially reduced or eliminated.

3rd scenario – the progressive alternative

The 3rd scenario, is typically called the progressive allocation. This is a more aggressive scenario that aims to strike a balance between maintaining a health contingency fund while reducing the potential for over contributing, should some items not require renewal or replacement. This scenario typically has sharp 50-90% increases  in the CRF contribution, and then sharp decreases in the CRF contribution after completion of an anticipated project. It aims to reduce or eliminate special levies while having a health fund.

These projections can sometimes look scary. Large costs like a building envelope renewal, parkade membrane replacement, or window replacement can rack up to tens of millions of dollars for a concrete high rise. Often times, client forget that these costs are simply estimates at inflated future values. A best guess you could say.

I constantly have to remind purchasers, that in reality, these scenarios are not how things play out in the real world. They are just theoretical scenarios, aimed to help guide the strata on what could reasonably be expected in the near term.

Example: $5 million dollar for exterior cladding replacement in 2030

Here’s an example; let’s say a the depreciation report says the exterior cladding needs to be replaced in 2030, and assigns a value of $5 million dollars. This is a large figure, and would result in a big blow to the contingency fund in 2030!

In reality, the strata typically approaches these maintenance items differently. If there is no existing issues stemming from this common building asset, the strata corporation will likely commission the engineer to conduct another report specifically on the exterior envelope. A building envelope condition assessment (BECA). The depreciation report is just a high level overview and guesstimate on the average service life of an asset. It does not analyze the item deeply enough to make informed conclusions on its physical health.

Perhaps the new BECA report will reveal that the cladding system is in excellent condition and will exceed its anticipated service life. In this situation, the BECA report would typically suggest a renewal of the sealant system around the cladding, to ensure it maintains its good condition long into the future. This is a much cheaper preventative maintenance outcome.

Or perhaps, the report will reveal that the cladding system is generally in good condition, but on some areas or exposures of the building the cladding is in rough shape or showing signs of failure. This suggests, that only a portion needs replacement or renewal. The strata can then evaluate if spot replacement, or entire replacement is more effective given the circumstances.

Alternatively, the worst case scenario prevails and the report concludes that the cladding system should indeed be replaced in 8-10 years, just as the depreciation report predicted. In this worst case scenario, there are many strategies the strata corporations can deploy. It can likely will consider increasing its contributions over the next 10 years. It can look to see if a phased approach of replacement over 2-3 years is possible – spreading the cost over time to reduce the burden.

Given the constant rise in new building material technologies the strata corporation can look at other materials and systems that may be more cost effective. For example, grants are offered to do energy retrofit upgrades.

At this point the strata corporation will then start to obtain actual quotes for the work to be done, which may come in lower (or higher) than the $5M figure.

A strata corporation can look to its investment maturities. Many stratas with large amounts of cash in the CRF invest in GICS and bonds. And it can even go as far as financing common property assets. some strata corporations own a caretaker unit which it can borrow against for funding. The strata can even opt to approach a lender to secure a loan and introduce a financing program that would be secured against the stream of income of strata payments (with permission of the owners of course by way of vote).

As you can see, the scenario in the depreciation report, never plays out in reality. The perfect world of financial modelling, just doesn’t reflect what will eventually happen. There are many strategies and options that a strata can choose to deploy to hedge and improve outcomes.

I often like to look back at depreciation report items that have already been replaced. For example, many buildings replace the entire elevator system – not just a refurbishment.

I notice that in many depreciation reports the costs are between $300 – $400k for two elevators. I then look at the financials to see what was spent, and the price is often much less. In my building for example, it came up to $100k less than what was budgeted for. The strata corporation will always budget and ask for more money than it needs at the AGM, so it can get work done should an unanticipated delay or cost arise. The remainder, if any, will be transferred back to the reserve fund.

Another thing that irks me about depreciation report scenarios is the many line items that never get done.  The smaller maintenance items that stratas typically don’t replace unless its causing an issue or is an eyesore. Like driveway resurfacing, exterior lighting, guard rails and hand rails, parking gates, painting of lobby and hallways, etc. All of these costs are layered on in the depreciation report, but they often do not occur in the timeframe the engineer suggests.

The depreciation report is not a bible that dictates that everything mentioned in 2021 needs to be replaced. The strata council and the owners have that authority to choose and plan for what reasonable and preventive work should be done.

Take Depreciation Report Scenarios with a Grain of Salt.

There is no perfect scenario. The best you can do is look at the annual amount of contributions to the CRF. If you see it increasing year to year, it means the strata is progressive and is choosing to smooth out the bumps the best it can.

The predictions of the funding scenario are just that, predictions, best guesses, and theoretical life span scenarios and costs. They are there simply for regulatory compliance and to serve as a guide.

If you’re considering buying or selling in a strata condominium building, I’d welcome the opportunity to work with you. I’m very familiar with many of the top buildings in the region.

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Impossible to build affordable housing

Why don’t developers build affordable housing?

The most common misguided refrain I hear in debates about housing affordability is the following: 

The problem is that these developers aren’t building any affordable homes, only luxury. They need to build homes that working-class people can afford.

Imagine if we asked the same thing of Ford or Toyota. “You have to sell a brand new Escape for $5,000, because that’s the most many of our working-class customers can afford.” Of course, Ford won’t do that, because the Escape costs more than that to make. 

We don’t as often apply this logic to housing, I suspect, because many people have very little sense of the actual cost of building a house. We know there are cheaper houses in our communities, so we assume new houses could be that cheap if the developer were willing to forgo a bit of profit. In reality, the “used” house is much like a used car—it can be much cheaper than the cost of creating it in the first place, because it’s already there and it is merely changing ownership. The theoretical floor on the price of a “used” home is its land value. The improvements, the structure which we call a house, can depreciate all the way to zero over time.

A new house, however, will never be cheaper than the cost of creating it. Not without some sort of subsidy, since nobody’s going to build at a loss.

First the developer needs to acquire land. In the urban core of Victoria and Saanich, it is increasingly rare to find suitable lots for under $750k.

Then there is construction cost ‘hard costs’ for materials and site servicing, and what we call ‘soft costs’ – the financing costs interests, disbursement fees, broker fees, architect, and the cost of the entitlement process with the municipality. It can take months to get the development permit issued, organize all the professionals needed for demolition and organizing the trades to start on the new build. Then there needs to be a reasonable profit margin to incentivize someone to go through this risky and cash intensive endeavour.

10 years ago, the average price per square foot was around $110 – $120/sqft. By 2017 those figures jumped to $150 – 160ft.Today, even the most experienced builders can only get their costs down to $200 – $220/sqft for an average home in modest neighbourhood.

That means the minimum price for a small new house that is around 1,800sqft is $378,000! And that doesn’t include the land the the developers profit margin. Now you can see why new construction homes, even the modest ones, are so expensive.

In the more desirable high end neighbourhoods like Fairfield and Oak Bay, the typical builder is looking at over $300/sqft because the land acquisition cost is high, and thus the buyers are also expecting higher quality finishing in the higher price range. The developers hard and soft costs often exceed $1M in these areas for these larger 2,500+ sqft homes.

Lumber has increased over 50% in the past year. Labour costs continues to increase. The red tape continues to be layered on by local and provincial governments. There is no good news that prices will fall anytime soon for home builders.

Nobody is going to build at a loss. So there is no reason to expect developers or non-profit orientied groups to be able to deliver affordable housing.

Thanks for watching.

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Top 10 Deals of 2020

Greater Victoria secured hundreds of millions of investment dollars and investment activity despite the headwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Westshore communities (Langford, View Royal, Colwood) continue to shine as an active hub of development and growth. The province also stepped up as a top buyer this year with the acquisition of properties for affordable housing, homeless sheltering, and long term care facilities.

Here are the top 10 commercial real estate transactions sorted by transaction size.

1. 945 Reunion Avenue, Langford

  • Price: $60,000,000
  • Site Area: Air Space Title
  • Improvements: 156 unit multifamily apartment building
  • Vendor: Ledcor Property Investments
  • Purchaser: Killam Apartment REIT

The scoop: The largest investment deal of 2020 in Greater Victoria. The ‘Crossing At Belmont’ is the rental component of the new large format super regional shopping centre, Belmont Market. Belmont Market is a landmark 160,000 sqft outdoor shopping centre with anchor tenants like Thrifty Foods, Scotia Bank, and Anytime Fitness. The rental units have condo-like amenities with in-suite washer/dryer, high end appliance packages, modern finishings, and amenity space. This building is the first to introduce a rent-to-own program for tenants to save down payments to purchase across the street at the Belmont Residences strata building.

2. 2861 Craigowan Road, View Royal

  • Price: $54,000,000
  • Site Area: 688,248 sqft or 15.8 acres of peninsula. Waterfront on all sides.
  • Improvements: 161 units
  • Vendor: Institutional
  • Purchaser: Killam REIT

The scoop: A spectacular, unique, and peculiar property in View Royal. The Christie Point Apartments is a unique property that is on its own peninsula in Victoria’s Portage Inlet. The waterfront property offers a variety of low density buildings originally constructed in the mid 1960’s. The improvements include 5 two-storey apartment buildings and 4 two-storey townhouse buildings. Located close to transit, supermarket, Victoria General Hospital, Graving Docks, CFB Esquimalt, and the casino. An incredible land acquisition with long term re-development potential.

3. 1085 Goldstream Avenue, Langford

  • Price: $52,050,000
  • Site Area: 2.157 acres
  • Improvements: 166 units
  • Vendor: Private
  • Purchaser: Skyline Group

The scoop: The Start on Goldstream is a new construction luxury rental building at the corner of Goldstream & Leigh road. The 5-storey building was completed in 2019 and offers a mix of 1 and 2 bedroom units with high-end features that were typically only reserved for ownership buildings in the past. This transaction represents the continued force of the the Westshore region as a major growth driver in the investment marketplace. At a price per door of $313,554 this transaction and many others like it is a testament that there is no longer a value gap between Victoria and Langford.

4. The Capital Iron Lands, Victoria

  • Price: $46,250,000
  • Site Area: 6.7 acres
  • Improvements: 6 parcels composed of parking, retail and office.
  • Vendor: The Greene Family (Capital Iron founders) and Kaeru Holdings Ltd.
  • Purchaser: Reliance Properties

The sales includes six properties. The Capital Iron building that runs from the foreshore, the two adjacent brick buildings, the Capital Iron Parking Lot at 1907 Store Street, and the retail strip mall 530 Chatham St. The combined parcels make a 6.7 acre assembly in Victoria’s vibrant old-town. The property only contains 93,000 sqft of built leasable space, with the remainder being paved parking lots. Reliance Properties is one of the mainstay Vancouver based investors that acquires well situated properties in the downtown core. Reliances portfolio includes Harbour Centre at 910 Government St which it acquired for $60M in 2019, Fairfield Block (currently on the market for $7.85M), the Janion, and Northern ‘Junk’ buildings.

This is one of the most exciting sales for Victoria. These prime lands are largely underutilized. Reliance Properties has the capacity to bring an exciting new hub to this vibrant old-town / china-town area. Jon Stovell will work closely with the city in its goal for this north downtown area and Lisa Help’s plan for an Innovation District. Any project proposal will have a lengthy public consultation and municipal permitting approval process.

Address Size (sqft) Price
1924 Store Street 68,312 $2,752,865
1910 Store Street 50,805 $5,720,317
1900 Store Street 25,195 $7,075,805
1824 Store Street 14,772 $3,281,031
1907 Store Street 68,954 $8,144,980
530 Chatham Street 61,602 $19,275,000
289,640 or 6.65 acres $46,249,998 or $160/sqft

5. 1910 West Park Lane, View Royal

  • Price: $39,635,525
  • Site Area: 2.3 acres
  • Improvements: 152 units
  • Vendor: 1138049 BC LTD Limona Properties
  • Purchaser: Capital Regional Housing Corporation (Government Entity)

The scoop: Thetis Lake Apartments is a purpose built rental development in View Royal. The project was built on the former Thetis Lake campground and trailer park. Limona Properties rezoned the property in 2017. Both Building A & B are 6-storeys and each offer 16 studios, 38 one-beds, 22 two-beds for a total of 152 units. The CRD is offering 118 of those as affordable units, 34 units as provincial assistance units, and 20 barrier free accessible units The Regional Housing First Program is an equal partnership agreement between the federal government through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the province through BC Housing, and the CRD. It was launched to create more affordable rental housing and address the needs of people experiencing homelessness in the region.

6. 2251 Cadboro Bay Road, Saanich

  • Price: $30,736,000
  • Site Area: 3.9 acres
  • Improvements: 15,000 sf institutional health facility slated for demolition
  • Vendor: Island Health (Government Entity)
  • Purchaser: Capital Regional Hospital District Corporation (Government Entity)

The scoop: The Oak Bay Lodge was a 5-storey building constructed in 1972 and initially operated as a retirement community. In the early 1980’s the property was converted into a long-term care facility and provided 235 care beds to the region. In 2012 Island Health sought re-development plans for an updated 6-storey 320-bed seniors care facility, but the municipality of Oak Bay quickly shut down any hope. The Oak Bay Lodge closed in July 2020 when residents moved into into a new 320-bed facility called The Summit on Hillside Avenue. The property has now been slated for demolition and a new development proposal will appear in the new year for a public-use project.

7. 2850 Bryn Maur Road, Langford

  • Price: $30,525,000
  • Site Area: 0.541 acres
  • Improvements: 93 rental apartment units
  • Vendor: constructed by DB Building Services
  • Purchaser: Centurion REIT

The scoop: The Arc is a new construction rental apartment building located at the corner of Bryn Maur Road and Hockley Ave. The 6-storey building uses cross-laminated timber. At $328,226 per door the property rivals that of strata condominium units.

8. 3020 Blanshard Street, Victoria

  • Price: $18,500,000
  • Site Area: 120,721 sqft
  • Improvements: 151 room hotel
  • Vendor: Cornell Developments Ltd.
  • Purchaser: BC Housing

The scoop: The Comfort Inn & Suites was silently acquired by the province during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Spring of 2020. The province purchased the property for use as a homeless shelter to relieve over 90 homeless campers residing at nearby Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue. The long term plan is to use the site for affordable housing. BC Housing has partnered with Our Place to run the building.

9. 21 Gorge Road East, Victoria

  • Price: $15,770,000
  • Site Area: 30,247
  • Improvements: 52 rental units
  • Vendor: Greater Victoria Rental Development Society (Non-profit)

The scoop: The Loreen is a 2011 build rental building along Gorge Road. The property is the former Capri Motel, which was demolished in 2009. The property was originally co-owned between private developer Alanna Holroyd, Kaye Melliship, and the Greater Victoria Housing Society. They have now sold to another like-minded company, Real Homes Development / Real Homes Management Corp.

10. 1900 Douglas Street, Victoria

  • Price: $14,000,000
  • Site Area: 60,005 sqft or 1.3 acres
  • Improvements: 75 room motel
  • Vendor: Paul’s Restauraunts Ltd.
  • Purchaser: BC Housing

The scoop: Pauls Motor Inn was the second hotel acquisition in Victoria made by the province in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The province purchased the property for use as a homeless shelter to relieve hundreds of homeless campers residing at nearby Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue. The long term plan is to use the site for affordable housing. BC Housing has partnered with Our Place to run the building. Pauls Motor Inn previously leased 35 rooms to the City of Victoria in April for those in need. The tenant destroyed the rooms and hotel. The unique needs and time constraint of the buyer lead to a high valuation for this property. The motel itself was established by Paul and Artie Arsen, who still own the Inn at Laurel Point.

The post Top 10 Deals of 2020 appeared first on Victoria Real Estate Agent.

Listen To What Your Clients Want

I’ve been working a number of condominium and townhome buyers this winter. When working with a buyer, you get to spend a lot of time together. It’s a team effort of hunting, qualifying, and organization.

I was surprised when two clients revealed to me their past experiences with REALTOR®. One client recalled how upset she was that the agent wasted her entire afternoon. The agent arranged to view the condo she requested, but when he picked her up, took her to 3 other properties. All 3 of these were in Langford, an area she had no desire for, and at price points higher than what she was prepared to spend. To say the least, she didn’t appreciate the fact that agent wasted her time, and was introducing her to properties she had no interest in.

This buyer was an older lady. When she first called me, she was very clear on what she was looking for. She was a value seeker. An affordable 2 bedroom condo that was in the city. She kindly asked me to update her when the cheapest 2-bedroom condos, that was a reasonable size (not 400sf studios). I listen and did just that.

I don’t get why a REALTOR would take this lady to new buildings, in an area that was far from where she wanted, at price points of $500k+. That goes against EVERY metric that client initially requested. Do agents really think that people will be wowed and amazed by new modern finishings, and disregard the most important considerations like location and price?

Listen and find the right property for your clients, even if it means waiting.

I understand that this buyers particular request is very competitive. A 2 bedroom condominium under $300,000 is hard to come by. But they do come up! I qualified her expectations in regards to the unit will not be fancy, the building may have some deferred maintenance issues, and that there likely will be shared laundry. The prospective buyer was OK with this. Her goal was a temporary accommodation that was close to town.

I setup my system with strict criteria. Freehold Strata Condominiums, 2 bedroom +, and in Victoria, Saanich, or Esquimalt. The search initially resulted in 0 active properties, with 2 or 3 pending deals. But that’s ok. Finding the right property takes time. I’m not going to rush a client into properties that don’t fit their description. I knew a number of older condominiums often do sell in the $250-300k range, it’s just a matter of time. It’s not an impossible task.

Sure enough, a condominium came up in an older 1970’s building. A very simple building, no elevator, shared laundry. There was some exterior upgrades that were likely needed in 10 years time. But there were some big benefits. It was directly across from a supermarket, banks, community shopping plaza. It was a 10 minute walk to the beach and parks. Had easy access to transit and downtown. And it was 3 bedrooms and boasted over 1,100 square feet. I negotiated a huge discount to the asking price to adjust for future assessments, and secured the deal for $229/sqft. The client was thrilled. I listened, acted quickly, and met her criteria.

If you’re looking for a REALTOR® that will put your needs first. Understand your motivations. Give you the truth on what to expect. and lastly find the right property that’s in your budget – contact Dustin Miller at 8X Real Estate.

The post Listen To What Your Clients Want appeared first on Victoria Real Estate Agent.

November Heats up

For the 5th month in a row, Victoria’s residential real estate has continue breaking records. November closed just shy of 800 sales. We came close to an all time sales record from 1989.

Record low interest rates, tenants making the move to home ownership, and an increase in out-of-town buyers.

I think the market has way more punch in it than the stats show. There is a supply constraint that is preventing further sales.  As of today there are only 404 active single family listings in the south island region, and 259 of those are over a million dollars.

There were 1,813 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of November 2020, 24.4 per cent fewer properties than the total available at the end of November 2019 and a 14.6 per cent decrease from the 2,122 active listings for sale at the end of October 2020.

In November about one in four single family homes went over asking price. Both the average and median hit a record high. The average in November reached $1,091,000 and median of $907,000.

Condo and townhouse market is slower, both median and average flat.

 There is a chance we will see a slow leveling of activity over the winter – which is what we would expect seasonally. However, because of our consistently low inventory, pressure on pricing and multiple offer situations will likely continue as we remain in a demand-heavy environment.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, I’d welcome the opportunity to work with you. I am a knowledgeable market participant, and very data driven to find the best property for your budget and lifestyle. 

The post November Heats up appeared first on Victoria Real Estate Agent.