OMREB: Ok-Shuswap housing market strongest in 8 years

Year-to-date, the majority of the buyers are families who are moving up, or empty nesters and retirees who are downsizing.

  • Wed Jul 8th, 2015 7:00pm
  • Life

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported sales activity of all MLS® property types in June 2015 as the strongest in eight years.

Up five per cent from the same month last year, the housing market has shown an eight per cent improvement year-to-date compared to the same six-month period in 2014.

The B.C. economy is currently the best performing in the country with population growth, re-invigorated consumer confidence and pent-up demand key drivers of the real estate market as it bounces back to 2007 sales levels in most areas of the province.

“Strong consumer demand in the Okanagan-Shuswap has pushed home sales to an eight-year high and reduced days to sell to 72 days on average compared to 94 last year at this time,” said Christopher Miller, OMREB president and active REALTOR® in the Central Okanagan.

“Well-positioned and well-presented homes are continuing to sell quickly in the OMREB market. The robust demand is keeping inventories in check, with some segments experiencing relative shortages and sellers’ market conditions, particularly the lower priced detached units,” Miller notes.

Within OMREB’s three diverse markets—Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, and Shuswap-Revelstoke areas—sales activity and prices, and supply and demand tend to vary among property types at different times and locations, with ups and downs experienced zone-by-zone and month-by-month.

Year-to-date, the majority of the buyers are families who are moving up, or empty nesters and retirees who are downsizing, with 60 per cent coming from within our board area, 15 per cent from Alberta, and 10 per cent from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island (January through May buyers survey results).

While the recreation markets in the Shuswap and North Okanagan are seeing little activity, low oil prices appear to have had little impact on residential or investment buyers from Alberta as many are purchasing homes in the Okanagan or Shuswap now in anticipation of retirement, or choosing to move here to live and continuing t0o work in Alberta.

Single family residential sales in the Central Okanagan were up eight per cent compared to last June while year-to-date totals improved by 13 per cent over the same six months last year. Inventory continues to be tight for all types of housing due to high buyer demand and not enough new listings to fill the need.

In the Shuswap, single family home sales for the month improved by nine per cent, a 17 per cent improvement year-to-date as local buyers and Albertans purchased residences in the $300,000 and under range. The absence of recreation buyers from Alberta continues to stall the sale of high-end properties.

The North Okanagan experienced a 12 per cent dip in single family residential sales during June compared to last year with a nine per cent decline year-to-date. Coupled with the employment uncertainty and financial instability of oil patch workers, the softer activity may be attributed to the spike in zone sales last year at this time, resulting in the current lack of product and demand.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board is comprised of 1,044 member REALTORS® and 92 real estate offices in the Southern Interior of B.C. The board area covers the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan and Shuswap—from Peachland to Revelstoke.