no longer the next big market: Victoria has arrived

For a long time, Victoria may have been considered Vancouver’s little sister, but with a growing population and wealth of opportunities that reputation has evaporated. All along, nothing has stopped Greater Victoria from its allure as a desirable place to live. Mild year-round weather, iconic west coast landscapes, and its well-preserved heritage have captured the fancy of home seekers from across Canada and abroad.

Its dichotomy of small town charm and modern metropolis has attracted all walks of life. From the artsy Fernwood hub teeming with local creativity, to the thrift shops of Quadra Village, to the hilly parks that crown Oak Bay, the city’s neighbourhoods have fortified their identities with an influx of newcomers. Whether drawn to the opportunities of the city’s recent tech boom or the promise of the island’s slower pace, Victoria offers plenty of appeal to nearly any buyer.

Welcome to Victoria 

According to the 2021 Census, Victoria’s population has hit nearly 400,000 people, growing by 8% over the preceding five years. In doing so, the city has outpaced BC’s province-wide growth of 7.6%. In Statistic Canada’s recent labour force survey, the region’s adult population was growing at an annual rate of 2.6%--the highest such rate on record, faster than BC and Canada as a whole.

While Victoria’s population still skews older than the province’s average, the city has been attracting more people from around the country–the in-migrants–to make the move to Greater Victoria with its appealing breadth of job opportunities and schools. Between fall 2022 and this past September, the city welcomed 2,370 permanent residents which is a 17% increase from the year prior. 

A thriving job market

Victoria is home to a bevy of industries and established and new companies. Victoria boasts one of the lowest employment rates in the country with a rate of only 3.8%. Home to BC’s legislature building, the provincial government’s public administration holds strong as the third-largest sector in the region making up 13% of the jobs.

That said, the broader labour market has been firing on all cylinders. The healthcare, tech, and education industries are providing plenty of opportunities, as well as. About 18,800 new jobs have opened in the city year-to-date through September, nearly doubling the number of new jobs from the previous year. 

Record breaking construction

Housing construction has continued to boom throughout the region, with Greater Victoria on track to begin construction on over 5,000 homes this year topping previous records in 2021 and 2022. In terms of completions, the region is on track to reach 4,000 this year which would make it one of the highest years on record. With the boom in construction, prospective homebuyers have been treated to increased inventory.

Let’s talk value

Home values in Greater Victoria, while still lower than Metro Vancouver, have been resilient over the past year. Detached and townhome median sold prices rose by 4% and 1.5%, respectively, in October. While this isn’t great news for would-be buyers–and especially first-time buyers–the supply of homes is up. The inventory of detached homes is up 25% year-over-year, townhomes 19% higher, and condos are up 36%. 

More listings means more choices, and with this trend likely to continue in the coming months, some of the upward pressure on home prices should abate just in time for mortgage rates to begin their descent.

A city of plenty

Victoria has always been a charming city, perfect for those with an appreciation for the outdoors and a relaxed demeanor. But in recent years, it has become undeniably cool. The tech sector has enticed plenty of young professionals to Victoria, and these new businesses have breathed life into the capital. 

From hip Lower Johnson street to Fernwood, you can’t go far without running into a newly opened restaurant or boutique clothing store. While the city has become more attractive to younger generations, Vancouver Island still remains an appealing location for retirees and older individuals. With one of the mildest climates in all of Canada, residents can rest easy knowing no season will take them by surprise.

Whether you’re looking to start a family, turn a profit, launch a new career or retire to a quieter home, Victoria remains an attractive place to invest in property.

If you’re considering making the move to Vancouver Island, contact a rennie advisor today.
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