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Housing sales are on their way up in the Central Okanagan

Housing sales are on their way up in the Central Okanagan.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board  reported August sales activity of all MLS  property types improved by 23 per cent compared to the same month in 2013 with buyer activity building significant momentum over the summer.

“Year-over-year and month-over-month, the Okanagan-Shuswap housing market continues to strengthen and has maintained a strong upward sales trend for the past six months as we make steady strides toward recovery,” said Darcy Griffiths, OMREB president and North Okanagan realtor.

“More buyer activity in the higher price range reflects the renewed confidence of B.C. consumers as our provincial economy improves and the return of Alberta buyers as they cash in on booming job opportunities and accelerated market values in their province.”

Conditions in the Central Okanagan are now in sellers’ market territory with more demand than supply in some areas – especially in homes priced below $400,000 where inventory is short – and a buyers’ market in the higher price category.

New listings have fallen during five of the last six months with total inventory in the Board area down 11 per cent compared to August 2013, resulting in levels similar to those last seen in 2008 when active listings were particularly tight.

“The selection of entry level home choices has been significantly reduced with the drop in listings, so buyers are viewing properties in a higher price range to find better selection.   With strong prices, high demand and low inventory, if you are looking to sell, now is the time to do it before winter sets in,” Griffiths notes.  “However, there are still tremendous opportunities for buyers to get into the market with the price of single family homes fairly stable in most areas, and mortgage rates still at historic lows.”

While a significant increase in purchases of higher priced homes – due in part to the return of Alberta buyers, especially those who choose to live here and work in Alberta with the aid of new direct flights to the oil patch -- has skewed the average price of units sold during August and the past few months, this does not equate to a noticeable increase in the price of single family homes.  Pricing has remained stable with relatively modest gains seen in some locations, especially at the entry level where inventory is scarce.

By the numbers:

Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country):  During August, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 23.4 per cent -- to 548 units from 444 in 2013.  Total residential sales for the month improved 23.8 per cent to 504 units compared to 407 last year at this time.  The sale of 238 single family homes was up 14.4 per cent over August 2013 (208).

The 825 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw a 3.9 per cent drop compared to 858 in 2013, and total inventory was reduced by 15.8 per cent to 3,822 units from 4,540 last August.

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