House sales slow down

OMREB reports January, 2015 sales activity of all MLS property types declined 15 per cent compared to the same month in 2014.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) is reporting a slow start to the new year.

The board indicated January, 2015 sales activity of all MLS property types declined 15 per cent compared to the same month in 2014.

“While demand typically slows in January, Okanagan-Shuswap home sales declined more than expected after the steady upward trend and solid end to 2014,” said Darcy Griffiths, OMREB president. “The additional slowdown can be attributed to the record snowfalls blanketing our board area as the new year began, and the downturn in the Alberta oil patch negatively impacting consumer confidence.

“Albertans may be pulling back from second home purchases for investment, recreation and retirement, and local households relying on work in the oil industry are waiting to see what happens next, said Griffiths.

“However, we remain cautiously optimistic and are hopeful the lower lending rates will provide some incentive and boost buyer activity as 2015 unfolds,” she added.

The North Okanagan saw a 12 per cent drop in total residential sales and single family residential sales were down 18 per cent compared to this time last year. In the Shuswap, total residential sales dropped 15 per cent while single-family residential sales declined by 42 per cent compared to January, 2014.

The price of single-family homes is steady and strong in most areas, with modest gains seen in some locations where supply has tightened. The selection of single family homes has been reduced with an ongoing decline in inventory and new listings, especially for those priced below $500,000.

The shortage of entry-level homes has pushed buyers into purchases in the next level, or into the condo and townhouse market where there is more value in their price range.

In the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby), overall sales for January declined 28.8 per cent to 84 units compared to 118 units sold the previous year at this time.

Total residential sales for the month were down 11.8 per cent from last year with 75 units sold compared to 85. Single family home sales (36 units) dropped by 18.2 per cent compared to January 2014 (44).