Housing market continues to cool in Okanagan

Fewer sales and not as many listings in September says OMREB, and it’s also taking longer to sell.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board says residential sales throughout the Okanagan—from Peachland to Revelstoke—continued a gradual cooling trend that started in June.

In it’s latest report, OMREB says there were 740 sales posted to the Multiple Listing Service in September, a 16 per cent drop compared with August, when there were 882 sales posted. The September number was also 16 per cent lower than in September 2016.

“While the slow-down is moderate, the signs are there: fewer sales, not as many active and new listings and a rise in the average number of day president Tanis Read.

The average price in September across the region was $496,433, up 1.5 percent from August.

The number of new listings in September—1,118—was slightly lower than August’s 1,297 and the average number of days it took to sell a home in September was 78 days compared to 70 in August, but down from 90 days a year ago.

There were 5,091 listing in the in the Okanagan last month, three percent fewer than August and four percent fewer than September last year.

“Despite the market’s gradual shift towards a more balanced one, which is where the market more equally favours both buyers and sellers, average price remains relatively constant,” said Read .

“It’s a bit of a Catch-22. High prices contribute to a lack of inventory because potential sellers are concerned about whether or not they can afford to purchase a different home, yet fewer homes on offer means that there is more competition for the homes that are available to buy.”

The OMREB president said while strong economic conditions and population growth will likely fuel housing demand, interest rate hikes and the potential for additional mortgage rules, over and above those implemented in 2016, may have the opposite effect.

The latest statistics also showed property buyers in August were primarily motivated to buy for revenue or investment purposes (20 per cent), while relocation and/or moving to a similar property type accounted for 18 per cent and downsizing 16 per cent.

The largest demographic buying houses were two-parent families with children (29 per cent), followed by couples without children at 22 per cent and “empty-nesters” or retired people at 19 per cent.

Those already living in the Okanagan continued to be the majority of buyers at 57 per cent, followed by those from the Lower Mainland at 17 per cent and Albertans at 13 per cent. Buyers from elsewhere made up a significantly lower percentage.

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).

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