Monday, September 1st21.6°C
Ups and Downs in the World of Housing

Kelowna Housing winners and losers

When Kelowna housing markets shift there inevitably will be winners and losers.  As we get closer and closer to Labour Day and the weather gets a little cooler there are some emerging trends developing in Kelowna’s home sale market.  Firstly, when all the dust settles 2014 will be a better year than 2013.  In fact it will be better than every year since 2008.  When I say better, I’m referring to the actual number of residential housing units sold because it benefits a community when more units are sold and families who price their homes realistically are able to make a move.  We’re only 600 homes away from surpassing last year’s total and we should hit that number sometime in November.

There’s nothing worse than being a “have to” seller being put in a position where s/he can’t move because market forces make it impossible  If your house has a $300,000 mortgage and its value has dropped to $290,000 you just can’t move.  If your try to sell your house during a really slow period in the market (and we’ve seen a lot of those) cleaning it again won’t make a difference if people aren’t showing up to see it.  Most home owners aren’t in this position now.

The winners so far this year are people who bought a home anytime since 2009.  The average sale price has hovered around $500,000 for the past five years but we’ve seen it jump to $545,000 since April 1st this year.  If you have a mortgage, you have chipped away at the principal and even with a 5% high ratio loan, you’ve built up a reasonable amount of equity and are probably sitting in a better financially compared to when you bought. 

Odd statistic time.  As of today (08/22), there are 1,695 residential homes for sale in the Central Okanagan and there have been 1,695 sales over the past 6 months.  That’s as balanced as a market can get which is the healthiest market of all.  We aren’t seeing multiple offers on every new listing that comes up for sale nor are we seeing well priced houses go months without showings.    Things are just…..normal.

The losers in this housing market are the ones who made the reasonable argument that interest rates would have risen by now and the $500,000 average selling price was sure to drop.  A community where rents don’t support housing prices is due for a drop.  Didn’t happen.  A community where the average household income is about $60,000 can’t support a $500,000 housing market. Well, it did.   No question there are threats to our high housing numbers…..Ongoing labour disruptions with teachers, mind boggling housing numbers from Toronto’s condo market and Vancouver’s housing market which affect interest rates but for now things are going okay and I’m optimistic about 2015.

Thanks for reading. 


To view a complete list of Affordable Kelowna Homes $300-$500 Click Here

Call and WIN with Andrew Smith directly at 250-979-8066.

Over 22 years experience helping people achieve their dream of home ownership!

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People talking about real estate again

“Did you hear that the Johnston’s finally sold their house….it took over a year”,  is a typical conversation these days in Kelowna.  July of 2013 might be the month we all look back on and talk about years to come or it might be the start of a long sustained period of real estate growth.  A statistical outlier or part of a pattern.

It might be time to stop making excuses and trying to justify why our housing prices in Kelowna are increasing.  They just are.  Undoubtedly there has been pent up demand with families putting off a move and 2013 looks like it’s shaping up to be the year that high-end sellers finally decided to became realistic with their asking prices.   People can only handle looking at a weathered for sale sign on their front lawn for so long before they get the message. 

There were 21 million dollar plus Kelowna home sales in July alone representing a quarter of the 82 sold year to date.  There’s clearly some momentum in this segment of the housing market and there’s no reason this should slow down.  This is far ahead of the 51 million dollar homes that sold last year at this point.


For the rest of us…..There were 302 residential home sales in July which is up from 250 recorded July 2013.  In a city where 200 is considered a pretty good number (by me anyway) 302 is off the charts insane and likely unsustainable but we shouldn’t drop down below 200 sales per month for a long time.  Hopefully those days are long gone.   The average price overall year to date this year is $537,000 based on 1,694 residential sales which compares well to the $479,000 average this time last year with 1,469 recorded sales through the end of July.  That’s a 15% increase in the number of homes sold and a 12% increase in prices.  You can make a strong argument that living in a community where the average house costs over $500,000 isn’t a good thing and has its drawbacks but there certainly is a buzz out there and regular people want to talk about real estate again.

The most active segment last month, to no one’s surprise, was the $400,000 to $600,000 range where there were 147 solds.  There were 91 under $400,000, 30 between $600,000 and $800,000 and only 14 in the $800,000 to $1,000,000 range. 


Thanks for reading…. To view Kelowna homes for sale go to or call Andrew Smith directly at 250-979-8066. Or Follow me on twitter @smithap01

Over 22 years experience helping people achieve their dream of home ownership!

Closing on a sale during a forest fire

Not again.  I write these things three days before they get uploaded to Castanet and as of now there are 1,100 homes evacuated in West Kelowna affecting 2,500 people.  Most people remember the 2003 Kelowna Mountain Fire where one third of the city was evacuated and were living in spare bedrooms of the other two thirds.  There were farm animals on the front lawns of residential streets, cars and motor homes parked everywhere, everything smelled like smoke and we were glued to newscasts for updates.  Hopefully by Monday this fire will be under control and we will have had some rain.

Our emergency personnel are likely the best anywhere.  Not only do our firefighters, RCMP, volunteers and social services workers have the proper training, our front like emergency personnel also have a  lot of experience over the past decade.  When Jean Chretien landed his helicopter on Enterprise Way 11 years ago he gave a quick speech to evacuated residents and volunteers at the Parkinson Rec. Centre and talked about the TLMs in Kelowna.  TLM is a French acronym for “Tous Les Memes” meaning it’s always the same people in communities who immediately drop everything and help out any way they can.    Everyone in the Okanagan knows the drill by now.  We’ve already gathered up our pine needles from our yard, cleared them out of our gutters and looked around our yards for anything that may fuel a forest fire.  We don’t use cedar or pine shake roofs anymore and we’ve all taken videos or photos or our belongings in case we need to make an insurance claim.   When the weather gets so hot and dry that the grass crunches when you walk on it we know that we might just need to have our “go bag” packed and ready. 

A real estate sale might be affected if a property is to close while it’s in an evacuation zone.  When this happens most people are reasonable and realize that things just might need to get pushed back a few days.  The key is communication between realtors, buyers, sellers, lawyers, lenders and insurance companies to keep everyone in the loop.  If a buyer’s insurance company won’t insure a home until an evacuation order is lifted then everyone just needs to wait it out.  Problems can arise when sellers need the funds from a house sale in order to complete on another home impacting more people but the solution is usually constant communication. 

Since you’re reading an obscure Kelowna real estate blog chances are you probably have a property here.  If so, please consider getting on social media offering an extra bedroom to someone who needs it.  Things like this tend to bring us all closer together and ultimately make us stronger.


Thanks for reading…. To view Kelowna homes for sale go to or call Andrew Smith directly at 250-979-8066. Or Follow me on twitter @smithap01

Over 22 years experience helping people achieve their dream of home ownership!


A Realtor needs great knees!

We’ve all seen the signs around town as we enter a shopping mall, big box store or a gym reminding us that we can’t leave our dogs in the car even with windows open and water available.  And, we’ve all seen the inevitable news stories where someone runs into a store “just for a minute” and the police are called to rescue the dog where a wild scene ensues.  By now we all know why we can’t leave pets in a car and we know what will happen if we do. 

We should have some sort of rules for home sellers when the temperatures get this high.  With temperatures soaring to the mid-high 30s let’s consider a few adjustments.  First of all….crank that air conditioner to super-sonic levels.  Especially if the home is vacant because the first thing a buyer wants to do after entering a sweltering home is get out of there.  Same goes for the Realtor.  I understand energy conservation and I know societies survived just fine before air conditioning was invented but the first reaction from a buyer after entering a hot home is let’s get this one out of the way quick.  If your home is vacant and you live out of town, ask your agent to turn the A/C on in the morning of a showing and off afterwards.  We will.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Some large retailers offer free water to customers when it gets this hot and sellers can do the same.  It goes a long way leaving a note saying everyone’s welcome to a pitcher of lemonade in the fridge and leaving a few glasses on the counter.  This way potential buyers are likelier to stay longer and an extra five minutes spent in your kitchen taking a little break will usually result in spotting something they wouldn’t normally see during a quick walk-thru.  Everyone attaches names to the houses they see on a house hunting tour and it’s better to be remembered as the lemonade-and-cucumber-sandwich house instead of the scorched earth house. 

With the temperatures rising so is the demand for vacation condos and homes in the Okanagan. For Vacation condos click here.

Dress code.  The unwritten dress code has improved significantly over the years as our house prices have risen.  More ties, pressed pants and shined shoes giving the public a little more confidence that we can sell their $500,000 house.  All bets are off during Okanagan heat waves though. No one in this industry is going to show up for a first meeting wearing sandals and a T-shirt (okay….maybe a few us) but when temperatures are in the mid 30s please be prepared to see my knees.  Please don’t think less of me.

Be mindful that extreme heat is similar to extreme cold.  If someone is taking the time to see your house these days they’re probably pretty motivated and aren’t tire kicking because they could be at the beach with everyone else.


Thanks for reading….Back to stats next week.

To view Kelowna homes for sale go to or call Andrew Smith directly at 250-979-8066.

Andrew has over 22 years experience helping people achieve their dream of home ownership!

Read more Ups and Downs in the World of Housing articles


About the Author

Andrew Smith has been helping people buy and sell Real Estate with Royal LePage since 1993. He moved to Kelowna from Vancouver with his wife Jo Ann and two children. He chose Kelowna for the lifestyle and to raise his family.

Andrew was was also Best Selling Author on Amazon for House Virgins- How To Buy A House The Right Way The First Time.


"I help growing families smoothly transition to a larger home by making the finding, buying, and selling process easy."


You can contact Andrew by email:  [email protected]

Visit his website here:

Follow Andrew on Twitter:  @smithap01



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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