Real estate sales in the Okanagan hit eight-year high in June

Sales in the Central Okanagan alone in the first six months of 2015 were up 13 per cent.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board says sales activity in June was the strongest in eight years.

According to OMREB, sales overall were up five per cent from the same month last year and the housing market has shown an eight per cent improvement year-to-date compared to the same six-month period in 2014.

The real estate board credited the B.C. economy, which it says is currently the best performing in the country with population growth, reinvigorated 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 a 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.”

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

OMRED says single family residential sales in the Central Okanagan area 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.

Property inventory is reported to be “tight” for all types of housing due to high buyer demand and not enough new listings to fill the need.

The picture was not as bright in the North Okanagan, where there was a  12 per cent dip in single family residential sales during June compared to last year and a nine per cent decline year-to-date.

Coupled with the employment uncertainty and financial instability of oil patch workers who live in the area and work in Alberta, the softer activity may be attributed to the spike in sales last year at this time when this North Okanagan zone outpaced both the Central Okanagan and Shuswap-Revelstoke areas resulting in the current lack of houses on the market and demand.

In the Shuswap, single family home sales for the month improved by nine per cent compared to June 2014 and saw a whopping 17 per cent improvement year-to-date as local buyers and Albertans moved to the area and snapped up  houses in the $300,000 and under range.

According to a January through May buyers survey, the majority of buyers in the region are families moving up or empty nesters and retirees downsizing. The survey showed 60 per cent of buyers came from within our OMREB area, with another 15 per cent from Alberta and 10 per cent from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.