Home sales remain a buyers market

The Central Zone of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported January 2011 sales activity of all MLS property types improved over last month but were down from sales reported at this time last year.

With new listings up significantly from December due to the typical post holiday surge, and overall inventory similar to January 2010, buyers continue to have a good selection of properties to choose from.

While active listings and inventory paralleled January 2010 numbers (4,127 units compared to 4,120 last year), the 859 new listings in January fell 15.37% compared to last year (1,015), but rose 93.61% from last month (447).

Overall unit sales and total sales volumes dropped 26.24% compared to last January (to 208 from 282 totaling $82.68 million compared to $109.57 million in 2010), and total residential units sold decreased 22.36% (to 191
from 246) but were up 20.82% from December (146).

"As overall demand improves along with better economic and employment conditions, we expect to see more market stability and normalization during the first quarter of 2011 with sales trending upwards before revised lending criteria tightens the cost and availability of credit," says Brenda Moshansky, OMREB President and REALTOR in the Central Zone.

"All markets can expect to see an increase in listings in the next few months as sellers decide to put their homes on the market moving into Spring and, thereby, widening the choice for buyers."

Moshansky says consumers who have been sitting on the fence should be encouraged to make a move while 35 year mortgages and record low mortgage rates are still available.

"Plenty of choice, attractive home prices, and low mortgage rates continue to provide the best incentive to buy now rather than later when prices will begin to trend higher and interest rates increase."

OMREB's new Board wide monthly Buyers Survey "launched in September 2010 to profile who the buyers are and where they are from, indicates that serious buyers are taking advantage of the current market conditions and leveraging their positive purchasing power while it lasts." Moshansky notes.

"Pricing continues to be important when selling your home, so working with a real estate professional to understand current local market conditions and to provide comparisons specific to your neighbourhood is essential as home values vary based on property type and location."

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