Okanagan-Shuswap Housing Market Continues Strong Growth Trend

Kelowna, BC – The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported September sales activity of all MLS® property types improved by 32% compared to the same month in 2013, recording the strongest September unit sales in nine years (since 2005).

The uptake in summer sales activity in our Board area continued through into September. Reflecting the renewed consumer confidence and demand that began to unfold in the spring, the Okanagan-Shuswap housing market has maintained a strong upward year-over-year and month-over-month sales trajectory since April.

Sales activity within OMREB’s three diverse market areas tends to vary among property types zone-by-zone and month-by-month with ups and downs at different times and locations. The Central Okanagan leads the way this month with a 36% improvement in overall sales over September 2013, compared to 25% in the North Okanagan and Shuswap. The Shuswap Zone also saw a 41% rise in single family residential sales, compared to 32% in the Central Okanagan and 26% in the North Okanagan.

Conditions in the Central Okanagan are in sellers’ market territory with more demand than supply in some areas – especially in homes priced below $500,000 where inventory is short – and a buyers’ market in the higher price category. On the other hand, the North Okanagan remains a stable market for both buyers and sellers, while the best value for buyers is in the Shuswap where there is more supply than demand and prices remain relatively low.

While inventory has continued to drop during the past six months and active listings are 13% lower than in September 2013, the Shuswap saw a 42% decline in new listings for the month, the Central Okanagan dipped 5% and the North Okanagan saw a 7% increase. As a result, the selection of entry level home choices has been significantly reduced, so buyers are viewing properties in a higher price range to find better selection.

Despite tightening supply, the price of single family homes is fairly stable in most areas, and mortgage rates remain at historic lows, so there are great opportunities for buyers and sellers to get into the market. If you are looking to buy and find the right house, make an offer now as fewer new listings are coming on. If you are looking to sell before winter sets in, now is the time to list while prices are strong, the demand is high and inventory low.

The distribution of high and low level sales during September appears to have reverted back to a normal pattern after a large number of high-end sales skewed the average unit price upward in August. Despite the temporary uptick, pricing of single family homes has remained stable with relatively modest gains seen in some locations, especially at the entry level where inventory is scarce.

In order to fully understand the overall picture of the current residential market in our Board area, it is important to look at prices within property types and sale price trends within different price points.

ZONE STATS: For September statistics and media release, please refer to the appropriate Zone folders below. Click here to view full version of the SEPTEMBER Stats release summarized above.

Source: Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board