Kelowna, BC – The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported January 2012 sales activity of all MLS® property types rose marginally over the same month last year as the housing market continues to show moderate but steady improvement.
“January home sales were strong in the Okanagan-Shuswap as most segments in our market remain stable going into 2012, with indications that we are on our way to the 5,000 units forecast for this year – a 4.0% improvement over 2011,” says Rob Shaw, an active REALTOR® in the North Zone and OMREB Vice President. “Province-wide, unit sales are trending at a 15-year average and house prices are staying relatively flat. The differentiation between the Lower Mainland market activity and the rest of BC is beginning to narrow.”
Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke): While overall sales in OMREB’s Board area during January rose slightly compared to this time last year (up by 0.6% to 322 from 320), unit sales improved 9.9% from the 293 sold in December. Sales volumes of $112.3 million were down 3.8% for the month compared to $116.7 million in 2011. Inventory (active listings) for January 2012 rose marginally (0.9%) to 7,387 units compared to 7,320 last year, while the 1,366 new listings for the month climbed 2.6% compared to 2011 (1,331).
Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country): Overall sales in the Central Zone slipped by 0.9% to 211 units ($74.8 million) compared to 213 ($81.4 million) last January, but improved 15.3% over the 183 units sold in December. While total residential sales dipped by 3.6% to 189 units compared to 196 sold last January, they jumped 14.5% from the 165 in December. Single family home sales of 102 units rose 3.0% compared to 99 last year, and climbed 6.3% compared to December (96). While, January’s inventory of 4,231 units was up 4.0% compared to 4,067 in 2011, the 902 new listings for the month dipped 1.1% from the 912 last year.
Mortgage rates are expected to stay at or near record lows for most of 2012, and continue to positively impact purchasing power and improve affordability for buyers. Home prices are forecast to experience little movement as the supply of homes more closely matches consumer demand moving forward.
“These optimum conditions make now a good time for buyers to take advantage of great residential, recreation, investment and retirement opportunities in the Okanagan-Shuswap while there is good selection of properties available,” Shaw notes.
“Despite ongoing global economic woes and the sluggish American economy limiting consumer confidence and slowing demand, we are optimistic that modest growth in BC and the Prairie provinces will fuel a sure but steady increase in sales activity in our market during the coming year,” he adds. “We are beginning to see growing and renewed interest from potential buyers in Alberta and Saskatchewan as they start to recognize the affordability of homes in our Board area, so there could be more movement as Spring rolls around.”
With serious buyers are motivated by well-priced properties and room to negotiate, Sellers can benefit from working with a professional REALTOR® to price strategically at current values. In this highly competitive market, homes with good curb appeal and listed by sellers with the sharpest pencils are being sold quickly.
The results of OMREB’s Board-wide monthly Buyers Survey profiling who the buyers are, what they are buying and where they are from shows that the majority of buyers are from within the Board area. Move-up buyers and first-time buyers are driving factors, and stimulate the chain of ownership.
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