South Okanagan residential real estate market sales picking up speed

Housing market buyers up

Casey Richardson

Buyer activity and real estate listing activity are gaining momentum again in the South Okanagan, as residents have adjusted to the current late spring market.

"The market is doing really well," Association of Interior Realtors Past President Lyndi Cruickshank said.

"I think a lot of people felt really shell shocked when the interest rates started to rise, understandably so, as we often feel that resistance when there's a dramatic change in our lives. And is often the case, people settle into what our new reality is, and our interest rates are certainly significantly higher than they were. But people are finding ways to manage."

There has been a bit of a decline in the average home price, which is helping buyers. And as more homes come on the market, it ultimately helps the consumers looking to purchase.

"I talked to so many people last year that really wanted to be able to sell their home, but there was such a fear as to where they were going to go. So now that we have seen the inventory start to open up quite a bit. It's allowing them more choice."

Home inventory has increased by 38 per cent in active listings.

In the South Okanagan, the benchmark price for a single-family dwelling dipped 6.6 per cent, to $772,200. Townhouses ($558,100) and condominiums ($427,700) also dropped in May compared to this same time period last year.

"We're certainly more into a buyer's market than we have been over the last year. Previously, we were very predominantly held by a sellers market. And we're seeing a lot more strength on the buying side now," Cruickshank said.

She added that this is typically the time of year that people start to look for homes and that people really traditionally look to put their homes on the market.

"That plays a big role, obviously, in that increase in activity that we're experiencing right now."

The more balanced market will give buyers more of an opportunity to do their due diligence before purchasing.

"We've got a long way to go. We came from such an extreme market this time last year. And then we had that real hit with interest rates and things really slowed down very dramatically. So it's really nice to see things starting to just move forward in a more normalized way again.

Still, finding homes in the South Okanagan remains to be a challenge as vacancy rates remain low, even as developments continue to grow.

"It's going to take years, years before we're ever at a place where our inventory is going to meet demand unless we see something really dramatic. And that's right across the country when we look at what the demand is, and the current supply. So I don't see that changing."

Advice for first-time home buyers remains the same: finding a realtor and figuring out what time to buy is best for you.

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