For Immediate Release:September 4, 2014
Okanagan-Shuswap Housing Market Builds Momentum
Kelowna, BC – The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported August sales activity of all MLS® property types improved by 23% compared to the same month in 2013 with buyer activity building significant momentum over the summer.
“Year-over-year and month-over-month, the Okanagan-Shuswap housing market continues to strengthen and has maintained a strong upward sales trend for the past six months as we make steady strides toward recovery,” says Darcy Griffiths, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the North Okanagan. “More buyer activity in the higher price range reflects the renewed confidence of BC consumers as our provincial economy improves and the return of Alberta buyers as they cash in on booming job opportunities and accelerated market values in their province.”
The Shuswap leads the way this month with a 34% improvement in overall sales over August 2013, compared to 23% in the Central Okanagan, and 15% in the North Okanagan. The Shuswap Zone also saw a 28% rise in single family residential sales, compared to 19% in the North Okanagan and 14% in the Central Okanagan.
Conditions in the Central Okanagan are now in sellers’ market territory with more demand than supply in some areas – especially in homes priced below $400,000 where inventory is short – and a buyers’ market in the higher price category. On the other hand, the North Okanagan remains a stable market for both buyers and sellers, while the best value for buyers is in the Shuswap where there is more supply than demand and prices remain relatively low.
New listings have fallen during five of the last six months with total inventory in the Board area down 11% compared to August 2013, resulting in levels similar to those last seen in 2008 when active listings were particularly tight.
“The selection of entry level home choices has been significantly reduced with the drop in listings, so buyers are viewing properties in a higher price range to find better selection. With strong prices, high demand and low inventory, if you are looking to sell, now is the time to do it before winter sets in,” Griffiths notes. “However, there are still tremendous opportunities for buyers to get into the market with the price of single family homes fairly stable in most areas, and mortgage rates still at historic lows.”
While a significant increase in purchases of higher priced homes – due in part to the return of Alberta buyers, especially those who choose to live here and work in Alberta with the aid of new direct flights to the oil patch -- has skewed the average price of units sold during August and the past few months, this does not equate to a noticeable increase in the price of single family homes. Pricing has remained stable with relatively modest gains seen in some locations, especially at the entry level where inventory is scarce.
In order to fully understand the overall picture of the current residential market in our Board area, it is important to look at prices within property types and sale price trends within different price points. Sales activity within OMREB’s three diverse market areas tends to vary among property types zone-by-zone and month-by-month with ups and downs at different times and locations.
“The competition for buyers can still be a challenge for sellers if their properties are not priced well,” Griffiths warns. “Being realistic about the market value of your home, setting an attractive list price right out of the gate, and being willing to negotiate for the best offer are the keys to a successful sale. Now more than ever, it is important to consult with a professional REALTOR®."
Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country): During August, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 23.4% -- to 548 units from 444 in 2013. Total residential sales for the month improved 23.8% to 504 units compared to 407 last year at this time. The sale of 238 single family homes was up 14.4% over August 2013 (208).
The 825 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw a 3.9% drop compared to 858 in 2013, and total inventory was reduced by 15.8% to 3,822 units from 4,540 last August.
“Whether you are selling or buying a home, a professional REALTOR® who is familiar with the area and your particular neighbourhood will assist with searching, listing, negotiating and closing,” Griffiths notes.
How REALTORS® can help when buying or selling a home in the Okanagan-Shuswap:
• BUYING OR SELLING – Home values vary based on type and location: Talk to a REALTOR® about how your property type is currently faring locally, and how it compares to similar listings in your particular neighbourhood.
• SELLING – Pricing is crucial when listing your home: Serious sellers recognize that their properties must be priced within the current market conditions. Homes that are priced well are the ones that are selling, as has been evident this year.
• NEGOTIATING – For a successful purchase and sale: The professional negotiation skills of a REALTOR® bring buyers and sellers together for a successful sale.
New Listings 119
Current Inventory 579
Sell/Inv. Ratio 21.24%
Days to Sell 103
Average Price $258,837
Median Price $227,500
New Listings 103
Sell/Inv. Ratio 18.63%
Days to Sell 110
Average Price $354,139
Median Price $331,300
New Listings 90
Current Inventory 518
Sell/Inv. Ratio 5.98%
Days to Sell 179
Average Price $299,381
Median Price $200,000
New Listings 374
Sell/Inv. Ratio 18.93%
Days to Sell 68
Average Price $514,475
Median Price $466,000
Ratio of Sales vs Inventory 17.97%
Totals include variables in any given, due to preceding month's collapsed sales and deleted listings. e & oe