Okanagan real estate board says house sales dipped in August

OMREB says sales were down eight per cent last month compared to July.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board says it’s still a seller’s market but the pace of residential home sales in the Okanagan has cooled slightly of late.

According to OMREB, whose territory stretches from Peachland to Revelstoke, there were 882 residential sales in August, down eight per cent from July and down 14 per cent compared to August 2016.

“Conditions still favour the seller, and will likely continue to do so until inventory grows or demand lessens,” said OMREB president Tanis Read.

“While August is typically a slower month in terms of sales volume, this imbalance between demand and supply is propping (up) home prices in the Okanagan and may lead to a more sustained drop in home sales if supply can’t catch up.”

The average price for homes in August was $489,130 across the region, three per cent lower than in July, but five per cent higher than in August last year. New listings stayed relatively consistent with the previous month, while days on market rose slightly to 70 from 63 in July, but lower than the 85 days recorded at this time last year.

Read predicted demand will continue to be fuelled by strong economic conditions and population growth, driving consumer confidence and housing demand. Earlier this week, the Bank of Canada raised it’s benchmark lending rate which could lead to a modest increase in mortgage interest rates.

“We know there was a high volume of building permits taken out in 2016 and as construction on new builds is completed, supply will hopefully start to catch up to demand, which will, in turn, have a positive effect on affordability,” said Read.

According to the latest OMREB statistics of buyers surveyed in July in the region, those relocating and/or moving to a similar property topped the list at 19 per cent followed by first time buyers and those upgrading, both at 17 per cent. Two-parent families with children were the largest buying group at 29 per cent, closely followed by couples without children at 26 per cent.

The vast majority of buyers—56 per cent—are from within the region, followed by 17 per cent from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island and 11 per cent from Alberta. A low percentage of buyers came from elsewhere in Canada and outside the country.

“While millennials are now reaching ages where they will start to form their own households, it’s interesting, yet perhaps not surprising, to note that we are seeing more parents and even grandparents participating in home purchases for their children and grandchildren,” said Read.