December real estate sales across the Okanagan Thompson region continue to reflect an ongoing decline in sales and prices.
The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board reports that for December, there was a 29 per cent sales drop-off from both November and December 2017.
“No surprise, the market is doing what it tends to do this time of year with all indicators pointing to a generalized slow-down,” said Marv Beer, president for OMREB which covers an area from Peachland to Revelstoke.
“Unlike last December, both average price and days on market stayed on trend with average price lower and days on market higher than last month and last year.”
Average price, at $504,581, was three per cent lower than November’s price and three per cent lower than this time last year.
Average days on market increased to 99, compared to 91 in November and 79 last December.
New listings were 426 compared to 465 last December, contributing to an inventory of homes for sale that remains 35 per cent higher than this time last year.
“Looking to 2019, we can expect that the market will continue to moderate, as compared to recent years, with all signs pointing to more balanced conditions where buyers and sellers are benefitted more equally. Demand is dampening as a result of government policies that erode affordability and purchasing power, yet these effects are continuing to be offset by relatively strong economic performance,” said Beer.
Beer indicated the pending speculation tax imposed by the provincial government in Kelowna and West Kelowna as another shift on the horizon for 2019.
It is expected to impact about 1,800 Kelowna properties and 600 in West Kelowna.
The relative make-up of home buyers in the region stayed constant with those from within the area comprising the largest group at 59 per cent, followed by Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island buyers at 20 per cent and those from Alberta at 11 per cent.
Contrary to what many believe, Beers said foreign buyers remain a consistently small percentage at just two per cent.
“First-time buyers continue to be a strong contingent at 17 per cent, just behind those moving to a similar property type at 21 per cent and those moving up at 20 per cent. In terms of family dynamic, couples with children top the list at 30 per cent of buyers, following by childless couples at 24 per cent and empty nesters or retired at 21 per cent,” said Beer.