Nine months ago, sales in the Heron View housing project in Sooke were stagnant.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, leading to closures, layoffs and an economic downturn. But for Heron View, it was like Christmas all over again as sales suddenly picked up and properties began to move quickly.
“It was very slow for most of 2019 and then starting in November, it really picked up. Now we’re selling everything available,” said Bob Vaughan, the owner of Silvercreek Development, the parent company of Heron View.
Silvercreek has sold 12 properties since November, including many during the pandemic. Sold signs were slapped on another two homes before they were completed.
“We were very surprised [with the increased sales]. I thought when COVID hit, we were done,” Vaughan said.
The development is now entering its second-to-last phase of construction to keep up with the demand for its bi-level townhomes overlooking Sooke Harbour. Vaughan hopes to begin the final stage this spring.
When fully built, Heron View will be a development of 91 three-bedroom townhomes of between 1,550 and 1,700 square feet. The community sits on four hectares of waterfront property on Sooke Harbour and includes a marina, pool, gym, hot tub, tennis courts and an owners’ lounge.
Those amenities were a big part of the appeal for Stewart O’Neill, who bought a townhome at Heron View with his wife after they sold their house in Alberta.
“We did a lot of research before we purchased here,” O’Neill said. “When we came across Heron View, we decided it was exactly what we were looking for.
“The homes are very well put together and the location on the ocean is spectacular.”
The success at Heron View is duplicated in other areas of the real estate industry, too.
The B.C. Real Estate Association’s latest housing forecast shows that while sales in 2020 did fall to “historic lows” in April, they have since rebounded to pre-pandemic levels and have put the year on track to outdo 2019 sales.
The association’s third-quarter forecast report predicts 82,380 home sales by year’s end, a 6.5-per-cent increase over 2019. The average home price is also forecast to rise 7.7 per cent this year and 3.7 per cent in 2021.
For Vaughan, Heron View’s success is simple: people’s eagerness to move to the Island. Interest is especially strong from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, as well as from the Lower Mainland.
“The biggest selling point here is the West Coast lifestyle that we’re offering,” he said. “We’re right on the Sooke Harbour, and within minutes of some of the best fishing in the world.”