OMREB: Housing prices strong as demand is high, inventory low

‘Conditions in the Central Okanagan are in sellers’ market territory,’ says OMREB president.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported September sales activity of all MLS® property types improved by 32 per cent compared to the same month in 2013, recording the strongest September unit sales since 2005.

“The uptake in summer sales activity in our board area continued through into September,” said Darcy Griffiths, OMREB president and active Realtor® in the North Okanagan.

“Reflecting the renewed consumer confidence and demand that began to unfold in the spring, the Okanagan-Shuswap housing market has maintained a strong upward year-over-year and month-over-month sales trajectory since April.”

Sales activity within OMREB’s three diverse market areas tends to vary among property types zone-by-zone and month-by-month with ups and downs at different times and locations.

The Central Okanagan leads the way this month with a 36 per cent improvement in overall sales over September 2013, compared to 25 per cent in the North Okanagan and Shuswap.

The Shuswap Zone also saw a 41 per cent rise in single family residential sales, compared to 32 per cent in the Central Okanagan and 26 per cent in the North Okanagan.

“Conditions in the Central Okanagan are in sellers’ market territory with more demand than supply in some areas—especially in homes priced below $500,000 where inventory is short—and a buyers’ market in the higher price category,”

“On the other hand,” Griffiths noted, “the North Okanagan remains a stable market for both buyers and sellers, while the best value for buyers is in the Shuswap where there is more supply than demand and prices remain relatively low.“

While inventory has continued to drop over the past six months and active listings are 13 per cent lower than in September 2013, the Shuswap saw a 42 per cent decline in new listings for the month, the Central Okanagan dipped five per cent and the North Okanagan saw a seven per cent increase. As a result, the selection of entry-level home choices has been significantly reduced, so buyers are viewing properties in a higher price range to find better selection.

“Despite tightening supply, the price of single family homes is fairly stable in most areas, and mortgage rates remain at historic lows, so there are great opportunities for buyers and sellers to get into the market,” Griffiths said. “If you are looking to buy and find the right house, make an offer now as fewer new listings are coming on. If you are looking to sell before winter sets in, now is the time to list while prices are strong, the demand is high and inventory low.”

The distribution of high and low level sales during September appears to have reverted back to a normal pattern after a large number of high-end sales skewed the average unit price upward in August.

Despite the temporary uptick, pricing of single family homes has remained stable with relatively modest gains seen in some locations, especially at the entry level where inventory is scarce.

“The competition for buyers can still be a challenge for sellers if their properties are not priced well,” Griffiths warned. “Being realistic about the market value of your home, setting an attractive list price right out of the gate, and being willing to negotiate for the best offer are the keys to a successful sale.”

Sales per property type

In order to fully understand the overall picture of the current residential market in the Okanagan, it is important to look at prices within property types and sale price trends within different price points. Now more than ever, it is important to consult with a professional Realtor®.

Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke): Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s board area during September improved by 31.8 per cent compared to 2013—to 871 units from 661. Total residential sales for the month rose 32.9 per cent to 781 units board-wide compared to 585 last September.

Year-to-date, overall sales so far this year improved by 26.8 per cent to 6,759 units compared to 5,332 during the same period in 2013 (January through September).

The 1,238 new listings taken board-wide for the month were down 4.6 per cent compared to the 1,297 listings posted in September 2013, while inventory (active listings) declined 12.5 per cent over this time last year—to 7,273 from 8,314.

Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country): During September, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 36.3 per cent—to 552 units from 405 in 2013. Total residential sales for the month improved 38 per cent to 501 units compared to 363 last year at this time. The sale of 246 single family homes was up 31.6 per cent over the 187 in September 2013.

The 782 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw a 3.7 per cent increase compared to 754 in 2013, and total inventory was reduced by 16.5 per cent to 3,533 units from 4,229 last September.

North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby): Overall sales for September in the North Zone improved 24.5 per cent to 188 units compared to 151 units sold last year at this time. Total residential sales for the month were up 27.3 per cent over last year with 168 units sold compared to 132. Single family home sales (92 units) were up 26.0 per cent compared to September 2013 (73).

While the 306 new listings taken for the month were up 7.0 per cent from the 2013 level of 286, inventory for September saw a 7.5 per cent decline to 2,151 from 2,325 last year at this time.

Shuswap Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke): During September, overall unit sales in the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone improved by 24.8 per cent to 131 units compared to 105 in 2013. Total residential unit sales for the month were up 24.4 per cent over last year at 112 units compared to 90, while the sale of single family homes rose 41.3 per cent over September 2013 (to 65 from 46).

The 149 new listings taken in the zone were down considerably (42.0 per cent) compared to 257 last September. Overall inventory dipped 9.7 per cent to 1,581 from 1,751 during the same month in 2013.

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“Whether you are selling or buying a home, a professional Realtor® who is familiar with the area and your particular neighbourhood will assist with searching, listing, negotiating and closing,” Griffiths said.

For comprehensive statistical information, please visit www.omreb.com.