Okanagan-Shuswap housing market maintains steady growth

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board says sales activity in July improved in all areas over the same month last year.

And, it says,  the local housing market is maintaining stability and steady growth moving into the third quarter of the year.

“Things are continuing to look up in the Okanagan-Shuswap,” said Rob Shaw, OMREB’s president.

“Housing sales have strengthened during the past four months, with the typical leveling off of activity in July as summer vacations began and thoughts turned to camping, and boating.”

He added the Central Okanagan carried the rise in sales for the month, with overall units sold up 13 per cent from the same month last year, while sales for the North Okanagan are on par with 2011.

Listings and sales were slightly down in the Shuswap compared to last July.

“Single family residential sales were strongest in the Central Okanagan in July, with a 40 per cent jump over 2011.

Apartment and townhouse sales continued to improve in the Shuswap and North Okanagan.

The North Okanagan reported a 37.5 per cent increase in apartment sales last month, while townhouse sales were up 16.7 per cent from last year.

In the Shuswap, eight apartments were sold in July compared to none in 2011 and townhouse sales rose 25percent.

Year-to-date, total residential sales have improved over last year throughout the area, up 10 per cent in the North Okanagan, nine per cent in the Central Okanagan and six per cent in the Shuswap area.

“The outlook is generally positive in our board area as the market continues to stabilize,” Shaw said.

“Inventory is still a bit high but coming down with the ongoing sales fuelled by pent-up demand and growing consumer confidence.”

While new listings have leveled off during the past two months, the selection is still there for buyers, he added.

Record low interest rates are expected to continue to underpin home sales. However, the recent tightening of mortgage rules may affect affordability, especially for first-time buyers and consumers with less than 20 per cent equity in their homes.

With the dynamics in the Okanagan, there are up and down fluctuations in each OMREB zone monthly depending on the community, housing type and price point, said Shaw.

“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.”

He said working with a real estate professional to understand the current local market conditions and to provide comparisons specific to your area is essential for sellers as home values vary based on the type and the location.

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