Those interested in entering the housing market may be getting their chance.
Residential sales and listing activity across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland continued a month-over month decline in activity in December. There were 453 sales posted to the MLS in December, as compared to 571 in November, a 21 per cent decrease and a two per cent increase over this time last year, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board.
“While the market is cooling, it is doing so at a slow and steady rate,” said Anthony Bastiaanssen, OMREB President and active REALTOR in the Central Okanagan.
“We are gradually returning to more normal conditions in terms of sales and listing activity, which spells good news for buyers with the pressures of a highly competitive market lessening and allowing more time for decision making.”
In line with sales activity, listing activity also slowed.
There were 407 new listings in December compared to 701 in November. While days on market dropped from the previous month, at 91 days versus 97 in November, average price stayed relatively constant at $461,759.97, a 1.3 per cent decrease over November and an 11.5 per cent increase over this time last year.
“We are still pretty light on inventory, which will likely buoy pricing until more product becomes available,” said Bastiaanssen, noting that active inventory continued to tighten last month with 2119 available residential listings, compared to 2553 in November and 2808 in October.
“The market is in a constant state of change and this, along with other factors that can affect real estate transactions, is why I encourage both buyers and sellers to consider consulting a realtor,” he said.
“Just as importantly, and because markets and the conditions that affect them can be quite different, region to region, I advise engaging a REALTOR who is well-versed in both the local market and the product type of interest.”
According to an OMREB buyer survey, first time buyers were the majority of buyers of properties that closed in November at 21.7 per cent up from 17.9 per cent in October, followed by buyers who are downsizing at 18.4 per cent (up from 12.3 per cent) and move-up buyers at 17.1 per cent (down from 19.1 per cent in October). Those relocating and moving to a similar property type were close on the heels at 16.1 per cent, down from 18.5 per cent in October).
“First time buyers continue to be a prominent buyer group here in the Okanagan and more first time buyers may be able to realize the dream of homeownership with the help of a recently announced BC government program that assists first time buyers with repayable down payment assistance loan,” said Bastiaanssen. The latest in a number of government programs designed to assist first time home buyers, Bastiaanssen notes that REALTORS are up to speed on these programs and can assist buyers to access them.
Consistent with year over year trends, the vast majority of buyers were from within the Okanagan at 61.5 per cent up from 60.7 per cent in October. Buyers from the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island areas were the next largest group at 16.5 per cent (up from 13.4 per cent), followed by Alberta at 9.2 per cent (down from 11.6 per cent in October). Buyers from outside Canada remain a small portion of the buying population at 3.2 per cent (up from 2.1 per cent).
OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke).
For detailed statistics specific to each of the three regions served by OMREB, visit www.omreb.com.