MAY 2012 STATS: OKANAGAN-SHUSWAP HOUSING MARKET GAINS MOMENTUM
Kelowna, BC – The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported May 2012 sales activity of all MLS® property types showed marked improvement compared to the same month last year and during the first five months of 2011, as the spring housing market steadies and continues to see positive gains.
During May, the Okanagan-Shuswap experienced a resurgence in sales activity due to elevated buyer interest – an early sign that consumer demand and confidence are improving. We haven’t seen sales numbers like this for a year or so.
BCREA’s housing forecasts indicate that the BC Interior will lead growth in percentage terms during 2012. So far this year, the markets in the Okanagan Mainline, South Okanagan and BC Northern board areas are the strongest in the province. While the Lower Mainland saw a decline in home sales, the Interior markets posted double-digit increases in May compared to 2011 as improving economic conditions are filtering into these areas and have begun to raise consumer demand. Board-wide, OMREB has already surpassed the forecasts for growth in the first and second quarters, realizing an 8.5% increase in unit sales compared to the forecasted 4.1% and 7.4%. Sales activity in all three zones and in most segments was strong during May.
Sales were the strongest in the North Okanagan with a 25% improvement over May 2011, and townhouses showed the most significant gain with a 45.5% increase in units sold this month, similar to the rise in single family home sales reported in April. In the Central Okanagan, it is encouraging to see overall sales continue to strengthen with a 19.5% improvement over 2011, and that townhouse and apartment sales for the month are pretty much in line with single family residential levels. Total units sold in the Shuswap picked up 9.5% in May, with apartments and single family homes showing the most activity and greatest improvement (up 900% and 35%).