One of the regions that has faired very well through this economic downturn is the Okanagan Region of British Columbia. While housing in the Okanagan took a big hit like everywhere else, prices have already started to rebound in this region and sales are brisk.
This is one of those areas that seems to have so much going for it that values remain high no matter what is happening else-where. Skiing, hunting, fishing, some of the best wine country in the world are just some of the things that this little section of BC has to offer.
Her is a great article published in the Penticton Western News about the local Real Estate Market.
Click Here for the full article.
Experts predict rebound for Okanagan real estate
According to a panel of experts from all across the real estate spectrum, the local market has reached its bottom.
During a press conference Wednesday morning, a representative from the Canadian Home Builders Association, an Okanagan realtor and a mortgage broker were joined by the Bank of Montreal's senior economist to present their view on current conditions.
And, if what they said turns out to be true, expect Okanagan home values to start rising again soon.
Cliff Shillington, a Re/Max realtor, said that over the past month or so, business has been brisk at local realty offices and he doesn't see the trend changing.
"There were opportunities in the marketplace where you could get a really good deal," he said. "People were coming into the market in December and January... they were aggressive and they were getting some really good deals."
At that time, sellers hadn't adapted to current conditions and were selling low, but they've since changed their tack, started pricing more appropriately and are consequently fielding more offers than they would have a few months ago.
"You now can't steal a property from somebody," he said. "Sellers are getting between 90 to 94 per cent of their asking price."
Sal Guatieri, senior economist for BMO Capital Markets, said economists have been caught off guard by how quickly the housing market has started to rebound.
"So far this year, sales have exceeded our wildest expectations," he said. "Most are a reflection of record low mortgage rates, which has brought back some of the pent-up demand that accumulated when buyers were priced out of the market and were uncertain about the economy."
When affordability dropped to the worst levels in 17 years - since 2002 nationwide prices rose by 80 per cent, and in B.C. prices doubled - everything began to suffer. Nationwide sales dropped in half, housing starts were halved and prices were down by 18 per cent from their peak.
While his industry found itself face to face with an unpleasant low, Howard Rensler, president of the Canadian Home Builders Association, said signs of revival are abundant and those wondering if now is the time to buy, should get on it.
But, he warned, a bit of prudence and a lot less speculating could go a long way this time around.
"Today I bring you both good news and bad news. The good news, as it relates to the residential construction industry in the Okanagan, the recession of 08/09 is over," he said. "The bad news, this is what recovery looks like."
Rensler went on to say that the recession as it played out in the Okanagan was thrust upon us by completely external forces. Pointing to appealing geography, weather and a Canada-wide public health care system, he noted that the fundamentals for luring people to the valley remain strong.
"Because stock portfolios were declining, because we were aware of mortgage defaults, bank failures and fire sales elsewhere, ... because a few of us were generally concerned about our job safety, we stopped buying and we waited," he said.
As British Columbians waited, wondering if they'd lose their jobs, the housing market took a tumble and those Okanaganites who had speculated looking for major gains got burned.
Now that many have come to terms with their personal damage, Rensler said many are asking if the real life game of Monopoly is back on.
"The answer to that question is no, the spec game is not back on," he said.
The industry, as well as the world, has changed. Those who want to make a load of cash in 18 months are out of luck. The industry will now cater to those who are buying a home they want to live in it for several years before they move on
By Kathy Michaels - Penticton Western News
Published: June 25, 2009 6:00 PM
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