A shift from the buying frenzy earlier this year coupled with the winter seasonal slowdown has helped balance out the real estate market in the South Okanagan.
The market finally cooled at the start of summer after months of low inventory and growing prices impacted buyers and sellers. This gave confidence to more sellers to place their homes up for sale.
“We typically see things starting to slow down this time of year and true to form. That's exactly what's happening and take that in, in addition to the interest rate increases that we've seen, it's not surprising that we're starting to see things quiet down,” Lyndi Cruickshank, the president of the Association of Interior Realtors said.
Sales were down last month, but home inventory has increased by over 50 per cent.
“I think there are people listing because it's a time of year that's convenient for them to do it. I would say some people are listing feeling that it's a good time to sell with an expectation on their part that perhaps the market may come down.”
Cruickshank said that typically fall is a serious listing and purchasing period for the real estate market, with more people starting to look for homes again after summer vacations.
“And then we will see it get quieter through December in January. It's usually those people that are really serious that are out looking for homes in those cold winter months,” she added.
Even with a more balanced market, the reality remains that there are still more people looking for homes than there are homes available.
"As long as we continue to see that, there will continue to be that push on pricing. Even though we have seen pricing coming down a little bit, the demand will continue to see the pricing remain steady.”
The development uptick in the South Okanagan could help change the narrative. Penticton was named a top city in Western Canada for real estate investors in 2023.
“We certainly have become a place where a more affluent buyer is looking to call Penticton home, whether it's part-time or full-time. But we've also become a place where people are circling back to some young families that perhaps left Penticton. Now, they're able to work remotely, and they're bringing their families home.”
Petty crime is an increasing concern in Penticton, but the market seems unaffected.
“It’s certainly something that we're mindful of. And as realtors we always want to make sure that our clients are educated on the areas that they're looking at purchasing,” she said.
“You want to make sure when you're looking at purchasing a home that you're comfortable with who your neighbours are. Moreover, the neighbourhood that you're living in, what's around you and what's an attractant to the neighbourhood that you're living in.”
Cruickshank said she thinks now is a “really great time” to purchase.
“There are [fewer] people purchasing right now than there have been in the previous months. The homes that are on the market right now are not getting the same degree of interest that they were. There's still great interest out there and there are still lots of exciting homes being sold.
“But if now is the time that you're looking at purchasing, I would highly recommend that you start by having a conversation with your banker, and your mortgage broker, understanding what your finances are, and what really makes sense.”