I hope this finds you well and that the first few months of 2014 have treated you and your family well… It feels like it was just yesterday that we were in December, its hard to believe that we are already just about in May!
The real estate market overall in the first quarter of 2014 has been fairly consistent with a typical spring market. While we have seen an increase in sales activity over the last quarter of 2013 and a slight increase over the first quarter of 2013 – we are still down considerably from what we have seen as typical numbers over the past 10 years. Listing inventory has been on the rise steadily since the start of the year and currently is sitting around 4170 active listings, which is down from over 4500 this time last year. On a few occasions we have seen multiple offers – mainly in situations where a home is priced well and there is limited competition in terms of comparables. The core areas (Victoria, Oak Bay, Saanich) continue to be the most active and stable, while the out lying markets continue to be softer overall. We saw the implementation of depreciation reports legislated by the Provincial Government in December of 2013 and we are slowing seeing the immediate impacts of these on strata homes (in particular condo’s and townhomes). While these are new to BC, they have been around in other provinces over the past 25 years. History has shown that once the immediate impact is felt and some time passes the impact is mitigated and the overall end result is strata corporations that are more efficiently and effectively run & managed.
On a National scale the Canadian economy has seen a bit of a slow down over where analysts had predicted causing a more dovish tone from the Fed; with this we have seen another dip in Interest rates over the past few weeks – with the best 5 year fixed rate that we have seen at 2.89%. These recent numbers and dovish stance on monetary policy from the Government have caused the Loonie to drop down to 3 year lows VS the US Dollar. The positive spin off of this is that we may start to see a pick up in exports and tourism. What does this mean for the real estate market? It could mean that we start to see some American Buyers, as well it may encourage Canadians wanting to invest in real estate to choose Canada over the US (which has been a very popular trend over the past 5 years).