Housing sales are on the rise in the Southern Interior.
According to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board’s latest release , residential sales from Revelstoke to Peachland totalled 520 in February, an increase over January’s 353 sales, yet a nine per cent decrease over February of last year.
“Clearly, market activity is picking up, which is typical of February, although sales volume is 10 per cent lower than last year’s posted sales of 572,” said Anthony Bastiaanssen, OMREB President and realtor in the central Okanagan.
Also reflective of a more active market, the average days a home is staying on the market was 87, representing a shorter timeframe from January’s 96 days and last February’s 98 days. Pricing is also on the rise at $480,052.49, a nine per cent increase over January, and a 13 per cent increase over this time last year.
Bastiaanssen said ongoing issues with low housing inventory which puts upward pressure on pricing.
“While the inventory of available properties for sale increased over January, we are still 30 per cent lower than a year ago,” he said. “If demand continues at current rates, we will continue to experience competition for available properties, multiple offer situations and sales prices that are higher than asking price.”
“These conditions shorten the decision-making timeframe and complicate the situation which adds stress. A knowledgeable and experienced realtor who is familiar with the local market can really make the difference between a satisfactory outcome and disappointment.”
Looking at who is buying Okanagan residential property, OMREB has found a continued level of consistency with previous years’ data.
“Now in our seventh year of tracking this data, we see that most buyers continue to be those who already live in the region, at 55 per cent, followed by those from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island at 21 per cent and Alberta, at 12 per cent,” said Bastiaanssen.
“While Alberta buyers edged out those from the Lower Mainland in December (at 11 per cent and 10 per cent respectively), Lower Mainland buyers surged back in January to reclaim second position. Foreign buyers continue to be a small percentage of the buying population at 2 per cent. “
Also consistent is the type of buyer, with the top three spots swapping between two parent families with children, currently at 26 per cent, couples without children, at 24 per cent and empty nester or retired families at 20 per cent.
First time buyers continue to be a strong group at 21 per cent, slightly edged out by those relocating to a similar-type property at 22 per cent and just ahead of those downsizing at 17 per cent.