March 30, 2022 Pre-Sale Homes in Victoria


Victoria is often thought of as primarily a student and retiree destination, though like other markets today is experiencing a rapid demographic shift. As the pandemic continues to alter many homebuyers’ lifestyle demands, southern Vancouver Island is proving to be quite the draw for Canadians near and far due to its natural beauty, small city feel and semi-isolated environment that still offers most urban amenities.

“We are seeing people coming from Toronto and Vancouver. I recently relocated to Victoria from Vancouver myself just for a little bit of a different lifestyle. I think Covid-19 kind of changed where everyone is looking to buy homes and live — [they’re paying more attention] to the community and walkability. And you know we're oceanfront here,” said Jessica Russel, MLA Canada regional sales manager, during a virtual discussion panel.

“I'm selling a development out in Esquimalt and am likening it a lot to previous developments I sold in Vancouver’s Olympic Village. We really couldn't convince people to buy when the cost was around 500 a square-foot, and now Olympic Village is this desirable neighbourhood. I'm anticipating that same type of growth for Esquimalt, which is six minutes from downtown situated right on the waterfront.”

The property in question is Pacific House, a modern nine-storey concrete building where a large portion of the 66 one-to-three-bedroom units boast beautiful views of the bay, mountains and Inner Harbour. Green spaces, recreation facilities, schools, eateries and more are located just a few steps away.

Aragon’s nearby Esquimalt Town Square is partly responsible for making the area a sought-after one via a revitalization of the municipality core and consists of two mixed-use low rises housing office space, retail-commercial and a new public library.

While the University of Victoria continues to attract thousands of transient learners every semester, all of whom need places to live, Russel says young couples are arriving in large numbers seeking housing yielding additional value compared to what’s found in saturated hubs like the Lower Mainland. And as always, the Island remains popular with empty nesters interested in downsizing.

Another thing that’s changed is the proliferation of upcoming pre-sale projects, which provide an alternative for prospective first-time owners being continuously outbid on single family homes in short supply, as well as an opportunity for investors to capitalize on low rental vacancy rates. However, the concept is still a novelty of sorts in Victoria, where the pace of life has generally been slower and as such buyer education continues to occur.

And although big players, including aforementioned Aragon, Bosa, and Lexi have construction plans underway, there continues to be a bottleneck at the government level slowing down expansion and constraining supply.

“One of the things we're seeing in both Victoria and the Esquimalt neighbourhood is the time it’s taking to push forward these developments and get things moving. So hopefully the planning and process will move a little quicker and we can get some inventory to market,” she said.