The local housing market is looking up.
The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported July 2012 sales activity of all MLS property types improved over the same month last year and the first seven months of 2011, as the housing market maintains stability and steady growth moving into the third quarter.
“Things are continuing to look up in the Okanagan-Shuswap,” said Rob Shaw, OMREB president. “Housing sales have strengthened during the past four months, with the typical levelling off of activity in July as summer vacations begin and thoughts turn to camping, and boating.”
Sales for the North Okanagan are on par with 2011. Listings and sales are slightly down in the Shuswap compared to last July.
“Apartment and townhouse sales continue to improve in the Shuswap and North Okanagan,” said Shaw, as the North Okanagan reported a 37.5 per cent increase in apartment sales for July, while townhouse sales were up 16.7 per cent from last year.
“And, in the Shuswap, eight apartments were sold in July compared to zero in 2011, and townhouse sales rose 25 per cent.”
Year-to-date, total residential sales improved over last year throughout the board area in 2012 – up 10 per cent in the North Okanagan and six per cent in the Shuswap.
“The outlook is generally positive in our board area as the market continues to stabilize,” Shaw reports. “Inventory is still a bit high but coming down with the ongoing sales fuelled by pent-up demand and growing consumer confidence.
“While new listings have levelled off during the past two months, the selection is still there for buyers. Record low interest rates are expected to continue to underpin home sales. However, the tightening of mortgage rules may affect affordability somewhat, especially for first-time buyers and consumers with less than 20 per cent equity in their homes.”
With the dynamics in the OMREB Board area, there are up and down fluctuations in each zone monthly – depending on the community, housing type and price point, notes Shaw.
“Now more than ever, it is important for anyone thinking of buying or selling to ask their realtor how their property type is currently faring in the overall market and, more significantly, in their particular neighbourhood.”
Working with a real estate professional to understand current local market conditions and to provide comparisons specific to your area is essential as home values vary based on type and location.”