A 'cool' summer housing market
Sep 15, 2011 / 6:00 am
Housing sale activity was slower in August then this time last year, the Central Zone of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported.
OMREB also reported that MLS property types were down marginally in August compared to July, as a buyers’ market continues into the fall.
Overall sales during August dipped 2.05 per-cent over last year, to 286 units sold from 292. They were down 16.12 per-cent over July from 342 units sold.
Last month total residential sales were down 3.72 per-cent compared to August 2010 to 259 units sold from 269.
OMREB Director and realtor in the Central Zone Kent Jorgenson says, the summer did finish with steady home sales and stable home prices in the Central Zone.
“Most market segments continue to move along and hold their own in the Okanagan-Shuswap, while the recreation and investment segments are still sluggish, being most affected by attractive U.S. opportunities and a slower than expected recovery in Canada.”
Jorgenson notes that while inventory continued to decline over last year- down 1.23 per-cent to 5,230 units from 5,295- new listings for the month rose over last August - up 0.97 per cent to 832 from 824 - but declined 13.6 per-cent compared to listings taken in July.
“Concerns over personal debt loads, net worth and employment fuelled by reports of American economic instability have cooled consumer confidence and overall demand in most BC markets, and volatility in the equity markets could result in further belt-tightening and apprehension about making big purchases moving into fall.”
However Jorgenson says the OMREB is hopeful the B.C. Government will reveal its HST transition plan quickly to alleviate some market uncertainty.
“Serious buyers are looking for well-priced properties, recognizing that now is the time to buy while there is still a good selection of homes and room to negotiate, and knowing that higher interest rates anticipated later this year could impact their purchasing power and determine the home they can afford.”
The results of OMREB’s Board-wide monthly Buyers Survey show that first-time buyers and move-up buyers are a driving factor, and stimulate the chain of ownership, according to Jorgenson.
The Central Zone of OMREB covers an area from Peachland to Lake Country and east along Highway 33 to Westbridge (including the Christian Valley).
With files from http://www.omreb.com
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