House sales slump according to OMREB

Kelowna’s housing market has found itself in another slump heading into spring, according to the newest report from the Central Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board.

April 2011 sales activity  dipped compared to sales for the same period last year, and were even fewer than earlier this year.

“April sales were milder than the rebound seen during the winter months before tighter credit and slower than expected economic recovery tempered consumer confidence and saw buyers sitting on the sidelines,” said Kent Jorgenson, OMREB director and realtor.

“Buyers still enjoy an excellent selection in the Okanagan, and sales are happening for well-priced properties. To attract buyers in this competitive market, sellers need to work with a realtor to price strategically and take advantage of spring.”

While it may not be happening fast, however, sales inventory continues to decline  and now there are 4,888 units on the market, compared to 5,309 in April 2010.

Overall unit sales during April dropped 32.35 per cent year-over-year,  to 297 from 439.

While realtors may not be doing brisk business, they’re getting to the bottom of who’s buying property in the valley and Jorgenson said the results of OMREB’s board-wide monthly buyers survey  shows that the majority of buyers are from within the Okanagan. It also indicates that serious buyers are taking advantage of the current market conditions and leveraging their positive purchasing power while it lasts.

First-time buyers are a driving factor and they stimulate the chain of ownership, says OMREB.

That’s a contrast to Metro Vancouver, where surging consumer demand  has been driven primarily by immigrant investment, overshadowing moderate results in the rest of B.C.

Locally, our gradual improvement in market activity is reflective of the overall economy and immigration is not a driving factor here.

In fact, the rate of population growth in the Okanagan has slowed by 25 per cent since 2009, according to the real estate board.


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