Tuesday, November 25th3.9°C
Ups and Downs in the World of Housing

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 (http://www.okanaganbc.com/kelowna-womens-shelter/)


Kelowna condos: Is it time?

Let’s take a quick look at Kelowna’s condominium apartment market and see how things are going.  In a nutshell things are okay.  It’s not 2007 but it’s not 2013 either.  Beginning with the overall picture there are 476 apartments for sale today in Kelowna not including the ski hill.  Only 10 of these units are in foreclosure (less than 2%....meh!) , 136 are currently vacant and 121 of them are currently rented with tenants.  I realize it’s November and the last thing most people want to think about is selling  but it’s a pretty good time to consider putting a condo on the market if you’re already thinking of selling in the Spring.  The fundamental law of supply and demand is working in your favor with limited competition.  Everyone waits until Spring because, well…..that’s just what everyone does.  Why not be a step ahead of your neighbor?

A few examples:

  • Only 5 units for sale in Discovery Bay at 1088 Sunset.   23 sales recorded this year compared to 15 all of last year.
  • Playa del Sol on Cook has 21 solds this year so far compared to only 12 last year.  Just 7 units currently for sale.
  • The Dolphins had 1 sale at this point last year and there have been 7 this year.  Only 2 units for sale. 
  • The Wedgewood on Sutherland across from the Capri Mall has had 13 sales so far this year compared to only 6 last year. 

Putting a condo on the market during the Winter and Fall avoids the uncertainty of whatever awaits all of us in 2015.  Will prices rise next year? Will interest rates increase? Will tougher CMHC lending guidelines make selling tougher? Will new condo construction make re-sale condos tougher to sell?  Answers are maybe, probably, yes and yes.    My advice to people thinking of selling in the Spring is to at least consider getting ahead of the game a little bit.

What about prices?  Overall there have been 851 apartment sales this year at an average sale price of $249,000.  Prices have jumped 3.75% from last year’s $240,000 average which is considerably better than what I thought it would be.  Overall unit sales are up over 30% this year compared to the 621 that sold up to this point last year. 

For a FREE List of All Condos click here make clickable link (http://www.okanaganbc.com/listings-search/) or call Andrew Smith directly at 250-979-8066.


Follow me on Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+OkanaganbcKelownaRealEstate/posts

Over 22 years experience helping people achieve their dream of home ownership! http://www.OkanaganBC.com 

Twitter @smithap01

Home inspections

The offer has been written.  Long and careful consideration went into the offer price using recent comparable sales and a week or so of visiting similar homes for sale and pen finally meets paper. Standard conditions with a reasonable time frame are part of the offer and everything is set for a seller to respond. The buyer has been pre-qualified for a mortgage and everyone is excited at this point. The Realtors meet with the sellers at their kitchen table and glances of relief are exchanged and a few small changes are made including a slight increase in the price.  Buyers quickly agree to the changes and sign and initial where they’re supposed to and a real estate transaction happens.  What could go wrong at this point?  The sellers make mental arrangements for moving boxes and the zillion details involved with moving and the buyers do the same. 

The next few days are critical in keeping this deal on track.  The lender still has to approve the home and financing still has to be approved regardless of any pre-approval.  We’ve all been through this process and know enough that we have to provide CRA information, job history, letters of employment and our credit card statements.  The home inspection is probably the most important part of keeping this deal from falling off the rails and the worst thing people do at this point is ask a friend or relative to do the inspection for them.  “A friend of my dad said he’d do the inspection.”  NOOOOOOOOO!!! 


Home inspections from non-professionals never seem to go well in my experience and I couldn’t imagine agreeing to do a home inspection if I was the friend or relative.  They just miss too much largely because it’s not the sort of thing they do every day.  I’ve sat through a lot of home inspections and on the surface it looks pretty easy and if push came to shove I could do a reasonable job on a well built home.  I’d never want to put myself in that position though because I’d miss something.  If I was asked to help with a home inspection for a friend or relative I’d probably overlook things if I wanted my friends/relatives to ultimately move into that house.  Every home inspector I’ve worked with in Kelowna has been top notch and none of them have blinked when passing on bad news about a home to my clients.  It’s a skill in itself explaining a heat pump to an office worker.  Sun Rype workers usually don’t know the life expectancy of a tar and gravel roof but might be fearful because they’ve heard they’re bad.  I’ve seen buyers go through with deals even after brutal inspections and I’ve seen buyers walk away from deals even after a glowing report but it’s significantly better to have someone do the inspection who has no agenda other than giving you a detailed analysis of the condition of a house.


Quick Market Facts

2,420 Year to date residential sales so far in 2014.  Average sale price $545,000.  Up significantly from last year at this time when we recorded 2,038 sales at a $489,000 average.  Remember, last year was considered a good year. 

Same for apartments.  891 apartments sales this year compared to 654 this time last year.  Prices up from $237,000 last year to $246,000 this year.  Who predicted those numbers?  The optimists win the 2014 prediction game….pessimists dusting themselves off getting ready for 2015 starting early with Ebola fears, Oil Prices, IsIs etc.   The list goes on and on but people seem to still want to live in the Okanagan despite what’s happening in the world around us.

To view Kelowna homes for sale Under $500,000 click here (http://www.okanaganbc.com/listings-search/#/249202450) or call Andrew Smith directly at 250-979-8066.

Follow me on Google Plus https://plus.google.com/+OkanaganbcKelownaRealEstate/posts

Over 22 years experience helping people achieve their dream of home ownership! http://www.OkanaganBC.com 


Where normal Kelowna people live

Kelowna housing numbers are often misleading because of the large number of high-end homes that sell in this city especially during the summer months.   We’re in the fourth quarter now and things settle down a bit with locals buying from other locals.  People with jobs, kids, minivans and mortgages buying from people who also have jobs, kids, mortgages and minivans.  People like you and me.  There are fewer Albertans in town and things like proximity to schools, churches and grocery stores becomes more important than whether the lower floor custom built yoga studio overlooking the infiniti pool has oxidized air or not.  Local buyers don’t gasp in horror at the site of laminate flooring or a do-it-yourself deck without a permit.  Let’s randomly look at the following neighborhoods….Rutland, North Glenmore and Glenmore. 

These communities have seen prices increase like the rest of Kelowna over the past decade and experienced sharp increases through the first part of 2008 and suffered an erosion of equity starting in 2009.  Same as everyone more or less.  Historically speaking, after looking at the first three quarters in 2007 and 2008 these four sub-areas saw prices skyrocket from $428,000 to $478,000 in one short year then plummet back down to earth in 2009 to $408,000.  That was quite a roller coaster.  Going back in history a bit further, ten years ago Rutland-Glenmore homes sold for an average of $262,000.  So far this year an average Rutland, North Glenmore, Glenmore sells for $447,000 which is up about 6% from last year’s $420,000.   In sum the good news is that things are pretty good for sellers these days.   Note: if you’re checking my math I’ve taken out lakeshore properties in McKinley - it skewed my numbers too much and, just because.  Remember, my blog, my rules.

With 208 single family residential detached homes for sale in these four neighborhoods 8 are priced under $300,000, 19 under $350,000 and 48 under $400,000.  With 440 sales recorded this year it works out to about 50 sales per month.  This means there is about 4 months worth of housing inventory available making it a balanced market. 

I hate to end on a doom and gloom note but the downside is that these areas have historically attracted first time buyers but high price increases over the past decade has changed the outlook for people entering the housing market.  Long gone is the $160,000 bi-level in spring valley and qualifying for $350,000 similar home is significantly tougher making these areas move-up areas with first timers settling for condominiums or townhouses.  Like it or not this is the new normal.  First timers are being forced to make housing choices their parents likely didn’t have to make and at the same time are being forced to save a lot more for a down payment. 


To view Kelowna homes for sale Under $500,000 click here (http://www.okanaganbc.com/listings-search/#/249202450) or call Andrew Smith directly at 250-979-8066.

Follow me on Google Plus https://plus.google.com/+OkanaganbcKelownaRealEstate/posts

Over 22 years experience helping people achieve their dream of home ownership! http://www.OkanaganBC.com

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:  http://www.okanaganbc.com/

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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