Housing sales are on an upswing in the Central Okanagan.
The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board reported December 2014 sales activity of all MLS property types rose 23 per cent and improved by 24 per cent year-to-date compared to 2013, ending the year on an upswing with consumer demand the strongest in seven years.
During December, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 23.4 per cent — to 311 units from 252 in 2013. Total residential sales for the month improved by 31.6 per cent to 275 units compared to 209 in 2013. The sale of 141 single family homes saw a 21.6 per cent rise over the 116 in December 2013, while townhouse sales improved by 50.0 per cent and apartment sales by 24.4 per cent.
Year-to-date, overall sales improved by 21.3 per cent over 2013 (to 5,370 units from 4,426). Single family home sales were up 15.7 per cent (to 2,502 units from 2,163), while the sale of townhouses improved by 31.9 per cent (to 814 from 617) and apartments by 33.1 per cent (to 1,029 from 773) compared to 2013.
“While demand typically pulls back during the holiday season and edged down in other BC markets during December, Okanagan-Shuswap home sales continued to rally after an unseasonably cold weather slowdown in November and finished the year on a solid note,” said Darcy Griffiths, OMREB President and active realtor in the North Okanagan.
“Despite a slow start to 2014, sales began to bounce back in March and the steady upward trend accelerated into an extraordinarily busy and fast paced summer and fall. The 7,584 residential sales for 2014 are the highest on record since 2007 when 8,702 transactions were reported.”
The selection of single family homes has been significantly reduced with declining inventory and new listings have not been fast enough to keep up with the demand, especially for those priced below $500,000. The shortage of entry level homes has pushed buyers into purchases in the next level up, or into the condo and townhouse market where there is more value in their price range. The price of single family homes is steady and strong in most areas with modest gains seen in some locations where supply has tightened.
“The conditions in our Board area were at the cusp between a balanced and seller’s market in December,” Griffiths said. “With more demand than supply for single family homes, the Central Okanagan is moving into a sellers’ market, while the North Okanagan market remains stable for both buyers and sellers, and the Shuswap continues to offer the best value and selection for buyers.”
Experiencing ups and downs at different times and locations, sales activity within OMREB’s three diverse market areas tends to vary among property types zone-by-zone and month-by-month, Griffiths explains.