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Slow February for Okanagan real estate

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. 

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