House sales are down but prices are up across the Okanagan in the month of February 2022, compared to the same month last year. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)

House sales are down but prices are up across the Okanagan in the month of February 2022, compared to the same month last year. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)

Lack of inventory continues to drive up Okanagan home prices

South Okanagan’s 40 per cent rise in single-family house prices was the biggest increase in the region

The number of homes sold in February in the Okanagan has dropped since the same time last year, but housing prices are heading in the other direction.

The South Okanagan saw the biggest increase in single-family house prices, to the tune of 39.7 per cent, according to data released by the Association of Interior Realtors March 3, The benchmark price for a home in the South Okanagan is now $716,700.

In the Central Okanagan, prices went up 37.9 per cent, bringing the benchmark price on a single-family house up to $1,094,000.

The North Okanagan saw a 30.3 per cent rise in the benchmark price, which is now up to $743,300.

In the Shuswap-Revelstoke region, the benchmark price is now $665,100 thanks to a 24.9 per cent increase over the same time last year.

Meanwhile, the number of single-family house sales across all of the above regions is down: 20 per cent drop in the Central Okanagan, 30 per cent decrease in the North Okanagan, down 2.3 per cent in Shuswap-Revelstoke and a 7.5 per cent drop in the South Okanagan.

Across the Association’s region — which includes the Okanagan Valley, Kamloops, Kootenay and District and the South Peace River region — a total of 1,516 residential units were sold, a 15 per cent drop compared to a record number of units sold in February 2021.

Available housing in the region continues to diminish. New residential listings on the market dropped 12 per cent within the region with 1,850 new listings recorded. Overall active listings also declined and were far below last February’s numbers, according to the association.

“The persistent lack of new listings coming onto market is far from adequate to meet the demand of buyers locally and those coming from other markets,” said association president Kim Heizmann. “We are seeing the mismatch of inventory versus demand taking a toll on buyers as they show signs of fatigue in having to compete in a seller’s market where lack of supply is putting upward pressure on pricing, and further on affordability.”

Heizmann said the government needs to step in and provide measures that could bring more houses to the market, pointing to a recent white paper by the British Columbia Real Estate Association titled A Better Way Home.

“Providing more options for buyers can help soften competitive market conditions and provide much needed inventory after months of supply drought,” she said.

The average number of days to sell a home dropped to 54 across the entire region.

READ MORE: B.C. realtors criticize proposed cooling-off period for home buyers

READ MORE: No short-term fix for Okanagan housing affordability

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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