Kelowna, BC – The Central Zone of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported March 2011 sales activity of all MLS® property types improved over last month but dipped compared to sales reported at this time last year when buyers were spurred into the market early in the first quarter to avoid the impending HST. The local housing market continues to stabilize and show more balanced conditions moving into Spring.
While active listings and inventory were down from March 2010 (4,750 units compared to 4,959 last year), the 1,122 new listings taken fell by 17.85% over last year (1,361) but rose 10.43% from last month (1,016). Overall unit sales and total sales volumes dropped 12.14% this March (to 340 from 387 – totaling $129.34 million compared to $150.51 million in 2010), and total residential units sold declined 12.57% (to 306 from 350 in 2010) but climbed 39.09% over February (220). The average price for a single family home is up 5.89% compared to last year at this time ($486,609 from $459,546), while the median price rose 2.06% ($433,750 from $425,000 in 2010).
“Gradual but steady economic improvement, population and employment growth has returned the BC housing market to normalcy after two years of volatility. News of rising interest rates could create a sense of urgency and stimulate demand as many buyers choose to get into the market while rates are still relatively low,” says Kent Jorgenson, OMREB Director and REALTOR® in the Central Zone. “With Spring on the way, we can expect to see more sellers listing their homes, and potential buyers closing deals before mortgage rates are raised further. Compared to the heated Lower Mainland market, the Central Okanagan continues to offer an excellent selection of properties and attractive home prices for anyone looking to buy here – whether they are first-time buyers, moving up, downsizing or retiring.”
The results of OMREB’s Board-wide monthly Buyers Survey – launched in September 2010 to profile who the buyers are, what they are buying and where they are from – indicates that serious buyers are taking advantage of the current market conditions and leveraging their positive purchasing power while it lasts, Jorgenson notes.
“Pricing continues to be important when selling your home, so working with a real estate professional to understand current local market conditions and to provide comparisons specific to your neighbourhood is essential as home values vary based on property type and location.”