Okanagan benchmark home prices take mighty leap in February

Beautiful time to be a seller

It looks like the annual spring real estate price boom got started in February this year.

The Association of Interior Realtors released its February statistics on Thursday, and benchmark prices shot up significantly.

The benchmark price of a single-family home in the Central Okanagan jumped 5.4% from January to $1.094 million. That was the largest increase since a 6.1% surge in April 2021. That hike happened even though the number of available homes increased from 267 in January to 306 last month.

The benchmark price jump was even more considerable for Central Okanagan townhouses. It leaped 6%, to $739,400 after months of relatively small increases. The price increase very well could have been the result of a lack of supply, as there were only 76 townhouses on the market in February. As a comparison, there were 144 on the market in September.

“The persistent lack of new listings coming onto market is far from adequate to meet the demand of buyers locally and those coming from other markets,” AIR president Kim Heizmann said in a press release. “We are seeing the mismatch of inventory versus demand taking a toll on buyers as they show signs of fatigue in having to compete in a seller’s market where lack of supply is putting upward pressure on pricing, and further on affordability.”

And even though the number of available condominiums and apartments in the Central Okanagan didn’t budge from January to February, staying at 198, the benchmark price took off. It checked in at $550,700 in February, which represented a 6.8% increase from January.

The North Okanagan single-family benchmark price was $743,300 in February, which was up 4.5% from January. The townhouse benchmark is $475,000, and the condo/apartment cost was $349,000. The inventory increased in both the single-family and townhouse categories.

Over the entire AIR, which now includes Kamloops and the Kootenay region, there were 1,516 residential sales in February, which was 15% fewer than there were during the record number in February 2021.

There was 19% less inventory this year compared to last February.

“Instead of looking for quick fixes to dampen housing demand, government policies should focus on measures that could bring more housing to the market, as outlined in BCREA’s recent white paper: A Better Way Home,” Heizmann said. “Providing more options for buyers can help soften competitive market conditions and provide much needed inventory after months of supply drought.”

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