Okanagan-Shuswap Housing Market Bounces Back in March

Kelowna, BC – The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported March sales activity of all MLS® property types was up 28% compared to the same month in 2013 – rallying after a pull-back in February.

“The Okanagan-Shuswap housing market bounced back during March from somewhat dampened results in February when sales were up 8% over 2013 compared to January’s 30% year-over-year gains,” says Darcy Griffiths, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the North Okanagan.

“During the past year, the local market has maintained a slow but steady upward trajectory and experienced a moderate recovery from the cyclically low sales levels at the start of 2013.  While other BC markets have been on a downward trend for the past four months, all three OMREB zones have seen modest to strong improvement in sales for various property types. “Griffiths adds, “It is encouraging to note that the board-wide demand for single family homes showed marked improvement during the month of March — increasing by 40% year-over-year to 321 units from 231 in 2013 — especially since sales of single family residences declined considerably in February compared to this time last year.” The North Okanagan saw a 73% year-over-year increase in single family home sales after a 20% decline in February, while the Shuswap reported a 48% improvement following a 13% drop, and the Central Okanagan posted a 26% gain over last year after a 5% dip the month before.

“Moving into spring, we are hopeful that activity will pick up as the weather improves and buyers are spurred by the drop in long-term mortgage rates,” says Griffiths. “Considering that all aspects favour buyers, now is the time to get into the market while there is still a good selection of properties to choose from. Despite a declining inventory, prices remain stable with more balanced market conditions, and low interest rates continue to be available.”

The competition for buyers can be a challenge for sellers so proper pricing remains critical, Griffiths maintains. “Market conscious and competitive home sellers are sharpening their pencils and seeing results. Being realistic about the market value of your home, setting an attractive list price right out of the gate and willing to negotiate for the best offer are the keys to a successful sale.”

Sales activity tends to vary among property types zone-by-zone and month-by-month with ups and downs at different times and locations within OMREB’s three diverse market areas. It is important to look at prices within property types and sale price trends within different price points in order to fully understand the overall picture of the current residential market in our Board area.

Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke): Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s Board area during March improved by 28.0% compared to 2013 — to 621 units from 485. Total residential sales for the month rose 27% to 554 units board-wide compared to 436 last March — up 79% compared to 309 last month (February 2014). The 1,517 new listings taken board-wide for the month were down 6.8% compared to the 1,627 listings posted in March 2013, while inventory (active listings) was down 9.2% over this time last year – to 7,217 from 7,950.

Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country): During March, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 22.9% to 403 units from 328 in 2013. Total residential sales for the month improved 20.8% to 360 units compared to 298 last year at this time. The sale of single family homes was up 26.0% over March 2013 (to 194 from 154), and days to sell dropped to 70 in March compared to 99 last year.

The 939 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw a 3.7% dip compared to 975 in 2013, and total inventory was reduced by 10.5% to 3,864 units from 4,316 last March

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