The Okanagan-Shuswap Housing Market Ends Second Quarter With Double Digit Gains - July 5 2012

Kelowna, BC – The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported June 2012 sales activity of all MLS® property types showed marked improvement compared to the same month last year and the first half of 2011, as the housing market shifts into more balanced conditions and records double digit gains during the second quarter of this year.

“During the past three months straight, the Okanagan-Shuswap has experienced a marked increase in sales activity -- leveling off a bit in June (15%) compared to May (19%), as thoughts turned to the end of school and family vacations. Renewed buyer interest and consumer confidence are still on the rise and expected to see ongoing improvement as summer unfolds,” says Rob Shaw, an active REALTOR® in the North Zone and OMREB President.

“While the market has softened in the Lower Mainland, the Interior continues to see the greatest growth in unit sales and the Okanagan is now leading the province,” Shaw notes. “Sales activity in all three zones and in most segments has strengthened. June saw significant improvements in apartment and townhouse activity throughout the Board area, and single family residential sales remained strong. Total residential sales year-to-date have improved over 2011 – up 12.4% in the North Okanagan, 8.6% in the Central Okanagan, and 6.8% in the Shuswap.”

Shaw reports, “Overall sales were the strongest in the Central Okanagan in June with a 17% improvement over 2011, and with gains of 49% for apartments and 43% for townhouses. In the Shuswap, total units sold picked up 14%, while the apartment segment jumped from zero sales last year to 8 this month, and rose dramatically (230%) year-to-date with 33 units compared to 10 in 2011. The North Okanagan saw a 9% increase in overall sales this month with apartments showing the biggest improvement – up 38% compared to units sold last year at this time.”

Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke): Overall sales in OMREB’s Board area improved by 14.5% during the month of June compared to this time last year (to 662 from 578), and sales volumes were up 12.0% to $239.7 million from $213.9 million. Year-to-date unit sales for the first two quarters of 2012 (3,150 valued at $1.15 billion) improved 9.7% over 2011 (2,872 at $1.07 billion). While inventory in June was similar to this time last year at 9,725 units compared to 9,715, the 1,670 new listings taken for the month dropped 8.9% from 1,833 in 2011.

Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country): Overall sales in the Central Zone for the month jumped 17.0% to 436 units valued at $167.7 million compared to June 2011 (369 at $144.6 million). Year-to-date figures rose 9.8% (to 2,059 at $791.7 million) over the first six months of 2011 (1,876 at $724.5 million). Total residential sales for June were up 16.7% (to 391 at $154.3 million) compared to 2011 (335 at $135.7 million). Single family home sales (205 units) rose 4.0% compared to last June (197). Apartment sales for the month showed a 49.0% gain over last year (to 79 from 53 units), and were up 22.8% year-to-date (to 398 from 324). The number of townhouses sold in June improved 43.2% over 2011 (to 63 from 44), and rose 14.0% year-to-date (to 293 from 257 in 2011). While inventory for the month was similar to last year (dipping marginally to 5,247 units from 5,254), the 975 new listings added dropped 10.8% from 1,093 in 2011.

North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby): Overall sales in the North Zone for June were up 8.7% to 150 units (valued at $48.8 million) compared to 138 ($46.1 million) in 2011. Year-to-date unit sales for 2012 (733 valued at $251.3 million) improved 10.6% compared to activity during the first two quarters last year (663 at $233.2 million). Total residential sales for June (136 units at $45.9 million) showed a 7.0% improvement over last year (127 at $41.7 million). Single family home sales (85) for the month were up 8.9% compared to the units sold in June 2011 (78). Apartment sales were up 37.5% over last year at this time (to 11 from 8). Inventory during June was similar to this time last year (up slightly at 2,624 compared to 2,620), while the 449 new listings taken for the month rose 10.3% from 407 in 2011.

Shuswap Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke): During June, overall unit sales in the Shuswap Zone improved 14.3% to 80 units (valued at $23.2 million) compared to 70 ($22.9 million) in 2011. Year-to-date figures for 2012 (357 sales valued at $106.3 million) showed an 8.5% gain over the first six months of last year (329 at $105.8 million). Total residential sales jumped 14.0% to 65 units ($21.2 million) compared to 57 last June ($21.3 million). Single family unit sales for the month rose 8.8% (to 37 at $11.7 million) from 29 in 2011 (34 at $10.9 million). Apartment sales continue to show significant gains with 8 units valued at $2.0 million, compared to zero units in June 2011, and a 230% jump year-to-date with 33 units compared to 10 during the first six months last year. While new listings taken during the month dropped 25.8% compared to last year (to 244 from 329), inventory rose 1.0% compared to 2011 (1,847 from 1,828).

“As the second quarter of 2012 comes to a close, the outlook for OMREB is positive as overall demand in our market continues to strengthen and improve along with the slow but steady economic and employment growth,” Shaw reports. “We are trending towards the bottom end of a buyer’s market and shifting back to more balanced conditions with less downward pressure on prices. Inventory is stable in all residential property types so there is still an attractive selection of homes to choose from, and prices remain fairly solid.”

He notes that, “The tightening of mortgage rules to a maximum amortization period of 25 years and reducing the maximum to refinance to 80% of the bank’s assessed value of the property will affect affordability, especially for those consumers with less than 20% equity in their homes. And, for first-time buyers, the effect will be akin to a 1% mortgage rate increase. However, ongoing favourable interest rates are expected to continue to underpin home sales for the most part going forward.”

With the dynamics in the OMREB Board area, there are up and down fluctuations in each zone – depending on the community, housing type and price point. Now more than ever, it is important for anyone thinking of buying or selling to ask their REALTOR® how their property type is currently faring in the overall market and, more significantly, in their particular neighbourhood. Working with a real estate professional to understand current local market conditions and to provide comparisons specific to your area is essential as home values vary based on type and location.

Consult with your REALTOR® to make sure your pricing is strategic. Price continues to be of utmost importance when selling a home as serious buyers are motivated by well-priced properties with great curb appeal and room to negotiate. Buyers and sellers need to come together with realistic expectations if they are serious about closing the deal.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board is comprised of 1,068 member REALTORS® and 93 real estate offices in the Southern Interior of BC. The Board area covers the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan and Shuswap – from Peachland to Revelstoke.

For the most comprehensive source of all real estate listings, home buying and selling information, visit our national websites at and To find out about the advantages of using a REALTOR®, check out

All OMREB listings are published in the MLS® Real Estate Review and MLS® Commercial Review magazines available at all real estate offices and various locations in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, the Shuswap and Revelstoke areas. For comprehensive Board-wide statistical information, please visit our local public site:

To download a PDF of this media release, click here.

NOTE: Current and archived statistics for each Zone are available on this site. For this month's statistics package, click on the "Market Statistics" tab in the menu at the top of this webpage and choose "Current Year - 2012".

For more information:

Rob Shaw, OMREB President (Board-wide statistical information)
(250) 545-5371

Cameron Muir, Chief Economist, BCREA , or Brendon Ogmundson, Economist (Province-wide statistical information) (604) 742-2780 / (604) 742-2796

Jan Bauman, OMREB Communications
(250) 491-4560, Ext 224

Paige Gregson

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CENTURY 21 Executives Realty Ltd.
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