Real estate sales decline

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board reports that there were 75 units sold overall in February

Real estate activity in the North Okanagan slowed last month.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board reports that there were 75 units sold overall in February, down 6.3 per cent from 80 units during the same month in 2013.

Total residential sales for the month were down 8.3 per cent over last year, with 66 units sold compared to 72.

“While the North Okanagan posted the most improvement in January over sales levels that were at a cyclical low at this time last year, activity slipped in February with home sales pulled back and snowy conditions deterring potential buyers, as was also reflected by most markets in the province,” said Karen Singbeil, OMREB president.

While the 275 new listings taken for February in the North Okanagan were down eight per cent from the 2013 level of 299, inventory for February saw an 8.6 per cent drop to 1,863 from 2,039 last year.

Sinbeil says the lagging economy and anaemic job creation from 2013 has spilled over into the first quarter of 2014 and impacted consumer demand for housing, but employment is expected to gain momentum during the second half of the year and spur growth in B.C. markets.

“As jobs and real estate prices continue to rise in Alberta, recreation and investment property buyers could return to the Okanagan this summer and mirror the activity that has already begun on Vancouver Island,” she said.

“Heading into the spring market, we are hopeful buying activity will pick up as the weather improves and consumer confidence is spurred by the continuation of low long-term interest rates.”

Despite declining inventory and some sellers remaining on the sidelines, Singbeil says buyers still have adequate inventory with a good selection of properties to choose from in the Okanagan-Shuswap.