Buyer trends in the Okanagan

For quite some time now, the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board has been doing “exit surveys” with REALTORS® after a successful sale to learn more about who is buying and how they are buying.
The information has been very useful to the profession and certainly assists in analysing what is happening in terms of stabilisation and recovery of the geographic market.
The July survey was recently released and I wanted to share some interesting highlights with you. One of the most intriguing points for me was the ratio of first time buyers staying relatively static, despite the governments concern that first time buyers were overextending themselves. My personal experience has been somewhat different. I find young people very cautious and concerned themselves about over-extending and strangely more mature clients sometimes a little less concerned. It remains to be seen if the most recent changes to mortgage rules have dampened the enthusiasm of young first time home buyers.
The Okanagan continues to benefit from good pricing across the board which is spurring an active move up market that has underpinned the activity in the region for some time now, and is accounting for over 20% of transactions.
The big change was, in fact, a big surprise, largely because of the time of year. Recreational and investment property both saw significant jumps in activity in July. 
I have talked about seeing more out of town buyers here in the recent past, but what is surprising is they typically do not make buying decisions until the fall. It is a very common misperception that the summer is a busy time for REALTORS® when in fact, it can be busy and unproductive. Because our market is generally fueled by tourism interest, many people are looking but distracted by holidays. When they pack the children off to school next week they often call back and book a more serious meeting, which corresponds with when we see a lift in recreational and investment type sales.
The most recent report is good news for the region for sure and interestingly the increase in Empty Nesters and single females who were buying may account somewhat for the recreational/investment interest. Both categories of Buyer also saw a significant jump in the month of July.
To round off where the interest has been coming from which should be no surprise to you after the recent articles I have written, we did see a healthy jump in Buyers from Alberta (up 13% from June) as well as a lift in interest from Eastern Canada.
Now, we enter into what is typically a busy time seasonally for recreational property Buyers, lets keep our fingers crossed that the momentum continues.

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About the Author

For the past twenty years Mark has been involved in real estate development and consulting and is currently a REALTOR with Sage Executive Group in Kelowna.

His column, brings a unique perspective on what may be important to us in the future as we come to grips with fast paced change in a world that few people barely recognize.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an Adventurer, Philanthropist and Keynote Speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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