Central Okanagan  

Single family home sales off 25%

Not all the news from the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) regarding sales in the Okanagan was gloomy, but there were some disturbing trends in the September report.

Overall unit sales in both the Central Okanagan and Shuswap were down 14 per cent and 22 percent respectively from September 2011 with single family residential the hardest hit, dropping 33 per cent and 25 per cent, while sales in the North Okanagan were up 2 per cent per cent over last year with single family residential rising 28.6 per cent.

On the other hand, year-to-date, total residential sales throughout the Board area improved over last year with the Central Okanagan and North Okanagan leading the way at 10 per cent and 9 per cent, followed by 5 per cent in the Shuswap.

OMREB also reported September 2012 sales activity of all ​MLS property types declined over the same month last year but improved compared to the first nine months of 2011 as the market slows moving into fall.

“While the Okanagan-Shuswap market saw steady improvement for five consecutive months (April through August), overall sales were down 11 per cent board-wide compared to last September," says OMREB President Rob Shaw.

"The current drop in sales does not reflect the upward trend of the past several months. It seems to be more than the seasonal back-to-school slowdown typically seen in September, and although it could be partially attributed to the exceptionally good weather last month, sales activity appears to have been further impacted by the tighter mortgage rules introduced in July,”

Shaw also points to the elimination of the 30-year amortization on government-insured mortgages as another factor in the  cooled consumer demand.

"As with prior interventions, BC home sales have sharply declined in the immediate months following the policy change, resulting in a 7 per cent to 10 per cent drop on average – over and above any anticipated seasonal fall-offs."

Overall sales in OMREB’s Board area, (Peachland to Revelstoke) declined 11.4 per cent during the month of September compared to 2011 (to 457 from 516).

However, year-to-date unit sales improved 8.9 per cent over the first nine months of last year (to 4,872 valued at $1.79 billion from 4,476 at $1.67 billion).

Inventory in September was down slightly (-1.5 per cent) from this time last year at 9,143 units compared to 9,282, the 1,145 new listings taken for the month dropped 11.3 per cent from 1,291 in 2011.

Still, Shaw remains optimistic.

“It is important to note that OMREB has experienced a significant downturn for last five to six years (since 2007/08), has already been through a price correction over the past two or three years, and is starting to come out of the doldrums now.  We are two years ahead of the current market dynamics in other parts of the province and country, so buyers should not anticipate any drastic price drops going forward.  However, we do remain somewhat influenced by the Lower Mainland market, particularly if residents there are planning to sell and relocate to the Okanagan,” he says.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board is comprised of 1,052 member Realtors and 95 real estate offices covering the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan and Shuswap.

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