January 7, 2013

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VICTORIA BC - Victoria’s real estate market ended 2012 with relatively flat pricing when compared to 2011, along with similar sales numbers for the third consecutive year.

Total MLS® sales in December 2012 were 283, a 17% decrease over December 2011 when 339 units sold. A different picture is told, however, when comparing full years, where there is only a 5% decline from 2011 to 2012.

Similarly, pricing has held steady year-over-year. The annual average price of a single-family home in Greater Victoria was $603,298 in 2012 compared to $613,839 in 2011. Shelley Mann, President of the Victoria Real Estate Board, notes that while the annual average in 2010 was $629,925, it was $580,748 in 2009.

"In December there were less active listings on the MLS® system than in recent months," Mann says. "With less competition, homeowners have a better opportunity to sell. But the property must show well, and they cannot expect to sell for the all-time high prices of 2010 and 2011." Current active listings are 3,896.

"We continue to see buyers waiting to make their move. Two factors seem to have triggered this, the first being the tightening of lending regulations which has affected the purchasing power of many consumers," Mann says.

"The second factor is that some buyers are continuing to wait for the market to fall," Mann says. "What we heard at the local 2012 CMHC Housing Outlook Conference is that the market has bottomed out and slow growth is in store for 2013."

There were 65 condominium sales in December 2012, compared to 98 in November 2012 and 89 in December 2011, and the year-over-year average price has decreased by 3%. Townhome pricing remains flat.

Total Waterfront Single Family Dwellings sold: 10, also 10 in December 2011
Total Non-waterfront Single Family Dwellings sold: 146, down 27 sales from December 2011
Single Family Dwellings sold over $1 million: 10 (3 over $2 million)

Graphical representation of recent sale counts and average prices

Stats Quick Reference

Tablular representation of sales statistics from the last two months and from last year

  Total Single Family All Areas includes Shawnigan Lake/Malahat, Gulf Islands and Up Island

Summary Report and Graphs

Monthly Sales Summary
Average Selling Price Graphs
Active Listings, New Listings and Sales Graphs

When Interpreting Our Statistics

To ensure sales are not over-reported, we report net sales: that is, the number of sales less the number of collapsed sales, if any.  Average Price is the total dollar volume of sales for the month divided by the number of sales in the month.  Six Month Average is the total dollar volume of sales for the last six months divided the total number of sales in the last six months.  Median Price is the mid-point price between the least expensive sale and the most expensive sale in the month.

The use of average price information can be useful in establishing trends when applied over a period of time, i.e. six months or longer. The Victoria Real Estate Board cautions that an average price does not indicate the actual value of any particular property. Those requiring specific information on property values should contact a REALTOR®.

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November 1, 2012








VICTORIA, BC—While prices held steady through most of the Greater Victoria region’s real estate market in October, government lending regulations have had the desired “cooling effect” on year-over-year sales numbers.


Total MLS® sales for October 2012 were 373 compared to 483 in October 2011. During the month, 211 single family homes sold throughout the Victoria Real Estate Board’s region, compared to 260 in October 2011. The average price for single family homes was $576,720, down 2% from last October’s average of $590,539. The median price for the same period is down $24,000 (4.5%).  Month-over-month, both sales volume and the six-month average for single family homes are flat. Active listings are 4,876.


“Overall sales for Greater Victoria are down 19%,” says Carol Crabb, President of the Victoria Real Estate Board. “Federal measures to slow real estate sales nationally are having a local affect. Our REALTORS® tell me that with the reduced amortization rates, many buyers are having trouble getting financing for the type of home that fits their needs, particularly first-time buyers.”


Crabb also notes that there are fluctuations across the region. Sales and prices are flat in the Core Municipalities, while sales are down on the Saanich Peninsula, with declined sales and prices on the Westshore. “I strongly caution against reading too much into the numbers,” she says. “Both activity and prices vary by sub-area. For some the sample size is always small, so a sale of one or two properties can result in a 50% change.”


There were 92 condominium sales last month, 37% fewer than during October 2011. Six manufactured homes sold compared to 10 during the previous October. Townhome sales declined 37% and the average price dropped from $428,040 to $387,769, a 9% decrease.


Total Waterfront Single Family Dwellings sold:                      15, up 3 from 2011

Total Non-waterfront Single Family Dwellings sold:              196, down 52 sales from September 2011

Single Family Dwellings sold over $1 million:                                    11 (1 over $2 million, 1 over $3 million)





October 2012, MLS® Real Estate Sales and Average Prices, Greater Victoria


2012 - October

2012 - September

2011 - October


No of Sales

Price $

Price $

No of Sales

Price $

Price $

No of Sales

Average Price $

Median Price $

Single Family Gr. Victoria











Single Family

Other Areas










Total* Single Family All areas







































































* Negative result reflects a collapsed sale of $1,545,000 reported as complete in Sept. 2012.





October 2012, MLS® Real Estate Sales and Six-Month Average Prices over September 2012

Number of Sales (Gr. Victoria only) October 2012                            COMPARED TO SEPTEMBER 2012

SINGLE FAMILY                                                                     CONDOS                                                          TOWNHOMES
     190                                                          92                                                               32

   0.00%                                                 -27.56%                                                   - 23.81%

Six-Month Average Price (Gr. Victoria only) October 2012              COMPARED TO SEPTEMBER 2012


SINGLE FAMILY                                                      CONDOS                                                                           TOWNHOMES

  $596,671                                                 $314,370                                                  $413,451

  - 0.46%                                                     - 2.29%                                                     - 0.82%

Number of Sales (All Areas) September 2012                                            COMPARED TO AUGUST 2012

SINGLE FAMILY                                                     CONDOS                                                                             TOWNHOMES

    211                                                           92                                                               35

  - 2.31%                                                 - 27.56%                                                        - 23.91%

Six-Month Average Price (All Areas) September 2012                             COMPARED TO AUGUST 2012


SINGLE FAMILY                                                     CONDOS                                                                            TOWNHOMES

  $591,580                                              $313,989                                                    $408,559

   - 0.94%                                                 - 2.12%                                                       - 1.39%


* Total Single Family All Areas includes Shawnigan Lake/Malahat, Gulf Islands and Up Island


While the use of average price information can be useful in establishing trends when applied over a period of time, e.g. six months or longer, the Victoria Real Estate Board cautions that an average price does not indicate the actual value of any particular property. Those requiring specific information on property values should contact a REALTOR®.

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The Capital Regional District (CRD) on Vancouver Island is sometimes simply referred to as Victoria, but when it comes to land use issues it bears to keep in mind that this area is comprised of 13-Individual Municipal Authorities, each with it's own unique set of Land Use Bylaws.


Many home owners within the CRD have secondary suites in their homes, sometimes even detached suites in separate buildings or above garages/barns. For home Buyers, the rules can be bewildering as there is significant variance depending on which local authority area the property is located in. Some municipalities may allow suites, but not within all zoning designations in that municipality, so always verify zoning with the correct local authority.


Here is a summary of each local authority's current policy for secondary accomodation within residential areas:. 



Secondary suites are permitted within single family dwellings in most zones of the city, but are not permitted in small-lot zones. Secondary suites must be built with all required building permits, and are subject to size restrictions and limits on the amount of exterior changes that may occur before and after their construction.

Victoria also just approved a "garden suite" policy. (Garden suites are small, ground-floor units located in the rear yard of a single family dwelling.)

Eligible locations for a garden suite in Victoria include all properties that contain only a single family detached dwelling and are appropriately zoned, within a restricted area. Contact me for a map of the eligible area.

The proposal must meet all requirements of the garden suite policy and should incorporate the design guidelines contained in the policy. Properties that already have secondary suites are not eligible, so you cannot have a suite in the home plus a secondary garden suite. You must choose to have one, but not both.



Secondary suites are permitted in a number of single family zones, including RS-1, RS-2, RS-3 and RS-5. Secondary suites are permitted only within a single family residence and are not permitted in detached or accessory buildings. Maximum size for a secondary suite is approximately 970 square feet, or 40 per cent of the total floor area of the principal residence (whichever is less - a size restriction set by the B.C. Building Code).



The municipality does not permit detached secondary suites. Attached suites must be no larger than 970 sq. ft., or 40 per cent of the primary home's floor area. The suite must be on a property no smaller than 7,000 square feet. All authorized suites must be licensed yearly by March 1st, and the owner must sign a Statutory Declaration confirming owner occupancy of the suited home. The home must have a minimum of three-parking spaces, including one for the suite.



Secondary suites are not permitted.



Secondary suites are allowed in a designated pilot area, south of McKenzie Avenue, in RS single-family use zones only. The suite must be within the house - not in a carriage house or connected by a breezeway - and only one is allowed per house. 

  • The registered owner of the property must occupy either the single family dwelling or the secondary suite as their principle residence ( a signed affidavit is required).
  • An Occupancy Permit must be issued for the Secondary Suite from the Saanich Building Inspections Division, based on the relevant section(s) of the BC Building Code related to Secondary Suites.
  • One (1) additional onsite-parking space for the occupant of the secondary suite must be provided. Tandem parking on the driveway is permitted.
  • Some new upcoming Townhome Units in Saanich will offer Flex-Suites. Contact me for details. 


Allowed in the southeast quadrant of North Saanich, subject to receiving a permit and complying with the building code. The suite must be within the house, and not in an accessory building.



Central Saanich has allowed secondary suites since 2006, on certain lot sizes.

Over the years, the bylaw has changed. Now, suites are allowed throughout the municipality and the owner does not have to live in the home.



Sidney has allowed suites since 1996 in single family homes throughout much of the town. They are only allowed in homes over 4,951 square feet, and they are not permitted on small lot single family homes or in duplexes.

Proposed changes to the suite bylaw, still being considered by council, include allowing suites in townhouses, row houses and apartment buildings.

As well, carriage houses may be allowed in an area of town where the layout includes lanes.



Attached secondary suites are permitted in all rural and single-family residential zones as well as several comprehensive development zones with just a few areas restricted to minimum lot sizes of 5,900 square feet. Suites must be between 430 square feet and 970 square feet, and cannot exceed 40 per cent of the home's entire floor space. Detached secondary suites have no minimum size requirements and cannot be larger than 970 square feet.



The municipality permits attached secondary suites that are no larger than 970 square feet or 40 per cent of the home. Council is considering allowing detached secondary suites no larger than 753 square feet on lots 0.8 hectares in size or larger.



Secondary suites are permitted in the majority of residential and mixed-use zones. Attached suites are limited to 970 square feet, and detached suites, 645 square feet. Neither can exceed 40 per cent of the primary home's floor space.



Attached secondary suites are permitted in most residential zones, but detached suites are retricted to comprehensive zoning in a few specific developments, such as Westhills and Valley View. Detached suites must be built above garages, which provide parking for the unit. Secondary suites must not exceed 970 square feet and must be built on lots no smaller than 5,920 square feet.


Some other factors include building code and electrical code compliance. Further, home insurance considerations are especially important to be aware of if the owner does not reside in the home.


Please keep in mind these Bylaws are fluid in nature and changes can happen at any time and thus this information is current only at the time I write this. Please verify this information at your local municipality, it is provided for information only and cannot be relied upon.


I hope this blog gave you some insights on secondary accomodations in the Victoria area.  If you have specific questions about local vacancy rates, rental rates and financing questions on how mortgage lenders consider rental income from an authorized suite vs. unauthorized suite vs. detached secondary accomodation to help you qualify for financing your home, please contact me at


Thanks for reading! Best Regards, Mikko


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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.