The Okanagan-Shuswap housing market saw another increase in activity last month over the same time period in 2013, but sales slowed in February compared to January of this year.
The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported February sales activity were up eight per cent (average) compared with the same month in 2013.
“For the most part, the housing market in the Okanagan-Shuswap continues to strengthen and maintain a ‘steady as she goes’ trend although February dampened somewhat compared to January’s significant year-over-year gains,” explained Karen Singbeil, OMREB President.
Of the three market areas in the region (North, Central and Shuswap) the North Okanagan saw the biggest decrease in activity last month. After a very strong January, overall sales were down 6.3 per cent year-over-year in February, with snowy conditions being blamed for deterring buyers.
Things looked better in the Shuswap zone where overall sales were up 10.8 per cent, but that was still well below January's increase of 22 per cent.
The Central Zone saw the biggest overall sales increase. They rose 12.6 per cent over 2013, and also surpassed the increase of 5.9 per cent recorded in January.
Following that trend of growth, housing starts in the Kelowna Census Metropolitan Area were also up last month, trending at 1,340 units in February compared to 1,219 units in January, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
“Higher levels of new home construction in 2014 are supported by lower inventories of new, completed and unabsorbed homes. Rising sales of existing homes coupled with fewer active listings have also contributed to increased demand for new homes,” explained CMHC Market Analyst Paul Fabri.
As we head into Spring, the expectation is that the real estate market will continue to improve, and there is optimism that recreation and investment property owners will return to the Okanagan this summer mirroring activity that has already begun on Vancouver Island.
Blenk Developments had a successful year in 2013.
Lot sales in Wilden were up 50% over 2012, and construction starts have been nearing pre-downturn volumes and are likely to continue into 2014.
Alberta residents are coming out in record numbers and showing great interest in living in the City of Kelowna. Wilden townhomes at Hidden Lake Lane have also beat sales expectations.
"We are anticipating a strong increase in sales for the New Year and are looking forward to a busy and prosperous year ahead with a steady increase in sales activity for 2014", says Vice President Brent Couves.
There are currently five new showhomes on Skyland Drive.
The number of housing starts in Kelowna rose dramatically last month compared to September figures, and shows a solid upward trend over the past four months.
A total of 125 homes began construction in October, almost double the 67 units in October 2012, including 55 single detached homes and 70 multiples.
“The trend measure for both single-detached and multiple-family homes has moved up since August,” says CMHC Market Analyst Paul Fabri.
“Declining inventories of new, completed and unabsorbed homes coupled with rising home sales have supported increased levels of new home construction.”
Actual starts in the Vernon area also moved higher in October compared to the same month last year, with single-detached homes leading the way. In Kamloops, housing starts were similar to 2012 levels and in Prince George the numbers suggest a decline from last year’s levels.
Across the country, numbers depict the same story with CMHC estimating there were 17,033 actual starts in October, which extrapolated over 12 months gives a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 198,282 units, compared with 195,929 in September.
-- With files from CTV
You can expect both new home construction and MLS home sales to move higher in 2014.
That according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's 'Fall 2013 Kelowna Housing Market Outlook Report.'
"Stronger employment growth coupled with low mortgage interest rates will support increased demand for housing in Kelowna," says CMHC market analyst, Paul Fabri.
Kelowna area housing starts are forecast to reach 1,125 homes in 2014, up from 900 in 2013 and 836 in 2012.
This includes both single-detached and multiple-family starts.
Fabri says declining inventories of new, completed and unabsorbed homes will contribute to higher levels of construction next year.
According to CHMC, the uptick in MLS home sales in 2013 is also expected to carry over into 2014.
Fabri says existing home prices are forecast to stabilize before edging higher during the second half of 2014 as demand picks up and the supply of homes available for sale slowly shrinks.
The city's apartment vacancy rate is also expected to move lower in 2013 and 2014.
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