Okanagan-Shuswap Housing Market Strengthens as Summer Heats Up
Kelowna, BC – The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported July sales activity of all MLS® property types was up 30% compared to the same month in 2013 – posting the strongest unit sales for July on record since 1980.
“Month-over-month, the Okanagan-Shuswap housing market continues to remain strong as we make steady strides toward recovery,” says Darcy Griffiths, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the North Okanagan. “Renewed consumer confidence has boosted demand as buyers return to mid and higher end homes, and sellers who had given up are trying again with more success.”
The North Okanagan leads the way this month with a 56% improvement in overall sales over July 2013, compared to 24% in the Central Okanagan, and 23% in the Shuswap. The North Zone also saw a 56% rise in single family residential sales, compared to 31% in the Shuswap and 26% in the Central Zone. Due to higher inventory and a wider selection in other residential property types, significant improvement was seen in the North and Central Zones with a 95% (North) and 28% (Central) jump in townhouse sales, and 63% (North) and 31% (Central) for apartments.
Conditions in the North and Central Okanagan are now balanced and moving into a sellers’ market with more demand than supply in some areas, while the Shuswap remains in buyers’ market territory with more supply than demand.
“Total active listings in the Board area were down 11% compared to July 2013. In some segments, sales have increased more than inventory so if you are looking to sell, now is the time to do it. The selection of entry level home choices has been significantly reduced with the drop in active listings, and some buyers are viewing properties in a higher price range to find better inventory.”
The current market conditions offer something for everyone with opportunity on both sides, Griffiths notes. “With strong prices, high demand and low inventory, there is more opportunity for sellers who wish to list and take advantage of the window of opportunity to sell before winter sets in. On the other hand, with the price of single family homes fairly stable in most areas, and mortgage rates remaining at historic lows, there are tremendous opportunities for buyers to get into the market before the possibility of rates rising as the economy and employment further improve going into 2015.”
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. 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.
“Now more than ever, it is important to consult with a professional REALTOR® as the competition for buyers can still be a challenge for sellers if their properties are not priced well,” Griffiths warns. “For a successful sale, you must be realistic about the market value of your home, set an attractive list price right out of the gate, and be willing to negotiate for the best offer.”
Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke): Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s Board area during July improved by 30.1% compared to 2013 — to 930 units from 715. Total residential sales for the month rose 32.5% to 848 units board-wide compared to 640 last July.
The 1,557 new listings taken board-wide for the month were up 5.8% compared to the 1,472 listings posted in July 2013, while inventory (active listings) was down 11.1% over this time last year – to 7,976 from 8,976.
Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country): During July, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 24.0% — to 584 units from 471 in 2013. Total residential sales for the month improved 25.7% to 543 units compared to 432 last year at this time. The sale of single family homes was up 26.2% over July 2013 (to 279 from 221). The 937 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw a 2.4% rise compared to 915 in 2013, and total inventory was reduced by 13.9% to 3.969 units from 4,611 last July.