American’s looking to Vancouver Island for their new homes

Are Americans testing Vancouver Island waters for potential new homes? Despite the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration website crashing on election night due to heavy traffic, it’s still too early to say.

Initial Interest from American buyers is keen.

640px-americanflagsAlthough Canada appears high on Americans’ radar as a potential new home, it’s a little early to point to directly related real estate sales. Initial interest appears to be keen. Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration website crashed on election night due to heavy traffic.

U.S. buyers have always played a role, albeit a minor one, in the Greater Victoria real estate market. A total of 67 properties were sold to Americans through the Victoria Real Estate Market’s multiple listing service in 2015. That was up slightly from the 47 sales in 2014. Mike Nugent, president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, said Wednesday that it is difficult to know if U.S. residents will buy more properties in the capital region. “ When you see something like that website crash, you think they must be looking. So far we don’t have any evidence of course.” He has heard in the past of trophy properties being bought by Americans. But that is true of foreign buyers, he said. “They are not big numbers, but they tend to buy some special properties, they tend to be well to do when they arrive.” Nugent doubts that local developers will market directly into the U.S. because buyers typically will go onto real estate websites and find their own real estate agents if they are interested in this area.

Canadian dollar drop causes U.S. interest to increase.

Scott Piercy, real estate agent with Engel & Völkers’ Victoria office, said U.S. interest in local real estate increased when the Canadian dollar’s value dropped against the American dollar. As far as whether the election results are sending people north, there’s probably more interest now, he said. But educated people are not going to make radical decisions immediately. “Money doesn’t move that quickly. Anyone that is logical will take time and see how things unfold.” U.S. buyers, especially from California, Oregon, and Washington state are shopping around on the Island and that has increased a little in the last couple of months, Piercy said. Because the real estate company has more than 100 offices in the U.S., Greater Victoria real estate agents can easily market properties south of the border, he said.

U.S. buyers are usually hunting the million dollar plus properties.

Typically, U.S. buyers are house-hunting in the $1-million plus category and are interested in more affluent neighbourhoods and waterfront sites. They may own more than one house elsewhere, he said. Often they are professionals who are late in their career, close to retirement age. In recent days, the company sent off a package to its U.S. offices highlighting a range of properties in the capital region, Piercy said.