Monday, December 22nd3.4°C
Ups and Downs in the World of Housing

Selling your home over Christmas

There are 1,180 residential homes on the market in Kelowna today and there were 84 sales over the first two weeks of December.  Average sale price was a reasonably impressive $460,000 considering the absence of the out of town buyer this time of year.  Thirty-three apartment condominiums have sold at the halfway point in December.  I know two weeks doesn’t really mean all that much when looking at overall pictures of a housing market but sellers are realizing that houses can be sold during the winter months in Kelowna.   With under 400 homes for sale priced under $500,000 there isn’t a whole lot of competition this time of year and if priced right there are buyers out looking.  Eighty-four of them over the past two weeks!   Regardless of the season, school calendar, weather or highway conditions, if someone needs to buy a house it becomes their only priority and a lot of transactions happen with Christmas music playing in the background. To view homes available click here.

The early  numbers are telling us that it could be the busiest December in ten years. We are running low on affordably priced homes but this always changes as we approach spring.  If you’re reading this and are considering selling your home next year you really should pause for a moment and consider pushing that date forward.  Yes, it’s more inconvenient dealing with strangers looking at your home during holidays but uncompromising laws of supply and demand are telling us that supply is low right now.  Consider yourself nudged.

I hope you’re enjoying this special time of year spending it with family or friends (or better, somewhere tropical). 


Best wishes in the New Year!


Kelowna's 2015 housing market

My favourite time of year.  Our family re-unites with everyone home this year, I re-re-recommit to the gym, things slow down a bit at work and everyone gets to read everyone else’s housing predictions for 2015.  As a rule I’ve learned that realtors are pretty optimistic when it comes to predicting the next 12 months.  We always think things are going to improve and we’re usually right.

The Bank of Canada sent a chill down a lot of spines last week telling us they’ve developed a new model and think Canada’s housing market might be overvalued by as much as 30%.  Actually, they said anywhere from 10% to 30% but the 30% figure was the number the media focused on.  Did anyone else start doing the math in their heads or was I the only one?  Could a $400,000 house really be worth $280,000?  Even the 10% number is scary because it would put a lot of homeowners underwater with their mortgages and would certainly stifle housing activity. 

Then, Elton Ash from Re/Max Western Canada saved the day by appearing on Global from his Kelowna office on Thursday quoting Re/Max numbers predicting a 7% increase in the Kelowna market next year.  Ash talked about the things we already about Kelowna.  He cited the fact that Kelowna is a destination market, recreational properties, the strength of the overall local economy and the weakening of the Canadian dollar should attract American buyers. 

Who are we to believe?  The Bank of Canada has access to more data than Re/Max but Re/Max, as a group, has sat down at more kitchen tables talking with home owners than the Bank of Canada.  You can’t quantify optimism and people in my industry have always had a better feel for what’s to come in the near future.  It’s been said that the public makes financial decisions based on their personal past 18 months’ experience and I think Realtors predictions are based on the homes or fears of the past 10 groups of buyers we’ve had in our cars or the last 10 homeowner kitchen tables we’ve sat at late at night.  Love us or hate us, we have a pretty good idea what’s going on right now and a have a pretty good track record predicting what’s going to happen in the near future. 

So, is the $400,000 house going to be worth $428,000 or $360,000 next year?  I’m with Elton on this one.  Sure, everyone is watching the price of oil, interest rates and unemployment figures but I’d bet on  Re/Max over the  Bank of Canada all day long.


Interested in what your home value is? What did your neighbor’s home sell for? See here


Happy Holidays from our family to yours.


Today’s consumer almost always begins searching for a home to buy by sitting in front of a computer, smartphone or tablet.  Some buyers are sophisticated and know exactly what they’re looking for.  An example would be someone contacting a Realtor already knowing they want 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, North Glenmore close to the French immersion school and might already know the names of the teachers they want for their kids. These people usually provide me with a list of MLS numbers and we start from there. The other end of the spectrum are people who’ve never been to Kelowna and know absolutely nothing about the housing market. Regardless, everyone’s welcome and we try to make the home buying process as simple and straightforward as we can.

Buyers – Choose a neighborhood, postal code, or street you are interested in and receive automatic updates when new listings hit the market

We’re using a program called “Get House Values” with our buyers and sellers these days. 

Sellers who want to monitor the activity in their neighbourhood sign up and are automatically sent a virtual snapshot of all housing data around their home including homes listed for sale.  When a home sells, you automatically receive notifications letting you know sale details also.  We’ve had a pretty good response so far likely because it has the two things people in internet-landia cherish the most….it’s free and it’s immediate.  

Everyone always knows when a home goes up for sale on their street or condo complex because it usually involves a big For Sale sign.  Get House Values lets you know the final sale price which no one will argue gives you a better understanding of market trends in a neighbourhood. 


Click here for Get House Values or send us a quick email and we will do it for you. Andrew can be reached at [email protected] or 250-979-8066.

Kelowna Women's Shelter Christmas

Kathleen Lemieux is responsible for Resource Development at the Kelowna Women’s Shelter.  Kathleen said there are about 100 to 125 children and their moms who come to their Christmas party each year and Royal LePage has supplied all the gifts every year for the past 18 years. Santa makes an appearance also.

The staff at the shelter has built many strong relationships within the community and the one with Royal LePage has been long term.  Christmas in our office starts in mid-November when Shirley Froese puts up the shelter Christmas tree and asks everyone to donate a gift for a mom or child in exchange for a chocolate treat.

If anyone reading can help out this year with a gift (or money) the shelter could really use the help.  There are so many needs this time of year and everyone is so busy running around but our most vulnerable deserve a gift on Christmas day.  Please drop off a gift at our office at 1890 Cooper Road.  If donating money, the Kelowna Women’s Shelter is a registered charity and issues tax receipts.

When the families arrive at the annual Woman’s Shelter Christmas party they see the tree and the gifts for each child is wrapped and under the tree. The women’s gifts are placed on a table and the children can go over to the table and choose a gift and then wrap it and give it to their mother. It is such a great moment for the children to be able to have something to give to their mother. This could be their only Christmas celebration this year.

In addition to emergency housing, the Women’s Shelter provides safe and confidential services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  With Jian Ghomeshi, Ray Rice, Oscar Pistorious and Bill Cosby being front and center in the news lately it’s pretty clear violence against women is an ongoing issue.  Please take a few minutes this Christmas season to donate to this cause.


Royal LePage Kelowna has been a proud supporter of the Kelowna Women’s Shelter for 18 years. Since 1977, the shelter has been helping women and children have a safe place to escape from domestic abuse. Staffed by a group of tireless volunteers, the Kelowna Women’s Shelter is open 24/7 with programs, services and outreach options for women and children in need. Andrew’s website updates the current events Royal LePage hosts for the Shelter (

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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