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Okanagan housing balanced

The Okanagan-Shuswap housing market has moved from a buyer's market to a balanced market during April, following a steady growth in sales and declining inventory.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board reported April sales of all MLS properties were up 26% compared to the same time last year, and also showed a 26% improvement over March.

"Board-wide, sales statistics for the first four months of 2014 indicate recovery is well underway with rising consumer demand and balanced conditions emerging as we move into the warmer spring months," said Darcy Griffiths, OMREB president and North Okanagan realtor. 

"With prices remaining stable and record low interest rates still available, buyers who have been sitting on the fence may be poised to enter the market, while sellers will be listing homes with more confidence."

Griffiths cautions that buyers could be looking harder for homes and may need to view properties in a higher price range to find similar value as the selection of entry level choices has been picked over and has seen a significant drop in active listings.

Despite more balanced market conditions, the competition for buyers can still be a challenge for sellers if their properties are not priced well.

"Market conscious and competitive home sellers are sharpening their pencils and seeing results," he said. "Being realistic about the value of your home, setting an attractive listing price right out of the gate and be willing to negotiate for the best offer are the keys to a successful sale."

Here is a regional break down of property sales:

Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke): Overall sales of properties during April improved by 26.3% compared to 2013, to 783 from 620 units.

Total residential sales for the month rose 27.7% to 714 units compared to 559 last April, and were up 28.8% to 554 compared to March.

The 1793 new listings were down 3.3% compared to the 1855 posted in April 2013. 

Active listings (inventory) were down 7.8% to 7838 from 8498 over this time last year.

Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country): Overall sales in the central zone were up 27.1% to 516 units from 406 in 2013.

Total residential sales improved 28.8% to 478 units compared to 371 at this time last year.

The sale of single family homes was up 21.3% over April 2013, to 262 from 216.

The 1015 new listings were up slightly at 1.1% from 2013 level of 477.

Inventory saw a 5.8% dip to 2194 from 2239 units last year.

Shuswap Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke): Overall unit sales in this zone improved by 40.5% to 104 units compared to 74 in 2013.

Total residential unit sales were up 44.8% over last year at 84 units compared to 58. 

The sale of single family homes rose 18.4% over April 2013 to 45 from 38. 

New listings in the zone were down 6.7% compared to last April to 294 units from 315. Overall inventory dipped 4.1% to 1571 from 1638 during the same time in 2013.

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