The region as a whole, stretching from Revelstoke to Peachland, took a sharp upward turn in May, with 1132 homes sold, a 38 per cent increase over April, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board. (File photo)

The region as a whole, stretching from Revelstoke to Peachland, took a sharp upward turn in May, with 1132 homes sold, a 38 per cent increase over April, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board. (File photo)

North Okanagan home sales spike in May

Home sales across the region rose 15 per cent over last year with a volume increase of 12 per cent

Home sales across the North Okanagan region in May rose 15.19 per cent over last year with 326 units sold, and a sales volume increase of 12 per cent.

The region as a whole, stretching from Revelstoke to Peachland, took a sharp upward turn in May, with 1132 homes sold, a 38 per cent increase over April. Despite numbers in the North Okanagan, the overall region saw six per cent fewer sales than May 2016, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

“Spring is typically a busy market and the May indicators certainly reflect that,” said OMREB president and active Central Okanagan realtor, Tanis Read. “While we haven’t hit the sales volumes we saw this time last year, we’re not far off the peak of 1263 sales last June.”

The May average pricing, at $513,492, crept past last year’s high of $486,636, recorded last May, Read said. The average number of days to sell a home was 73 in May, as compared to 75 days in April and 77 days this time last year.

“We are seeing the effect of an increase in demand without the inventory of homes for sale to support it,” Read said.

While the lack of inventory may be easing, Read said the ratio of home sales to active listings, a measure of balance between supply and demand in the housing market, is currently at 28 per cent in the region, and that a ratio above 20 per cent typically indicates a sellers’ market.

“Consumers will likely find rising prices, short turn-arounds between when a property is listed and when it is sold and multiple offer situations – all of which make for conditions that are challenging to navigate,” Read said. “The whole process becomes compressed, making it harder to stay on top of things, manage negotiations and handle contracts and conditions. Whether you are a buyer or a seller, it pays to have the help of a professional who is well-versed in the process and knows the local market.”

The largest percentage of buyers in the area continues to be those who reside in the region at 56 per cent, with Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island buyers at 20 per cent and Albertans at 8.5 per cent, according to a Buyers Survey of homes sales that closed in April. Those moving to a similar-type property were 19 per cent of buyers, closely followed by first time home owners at 18.5 per cent.

“The large majority of home buyers are people who already live here, with two-parent families with children and first-time buyers always a healthy percentage,” Read said. “Contrary to what some may think, those buying for investment purposes and foreign buyers typically make up a small portion of the total buying population, with the latest survey data showing these groups at 14 per cent and one per cent respectively.”

OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke).

According to a release by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Vernon housing starts are down from 160 to 114 for the period of January-May 2017, compared to 2016.

However, housing starts for the month of May are up, with 29 starts in 2017 compared to 16 in 2016.

For detailed statistics specific to each of the three regions served by OMREB, visit www.omreb.com.