Kelowna, BC – The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported January 2013 sales activity of all MLS® property types is down over the same month last year but showed an improvement over December.
Last year, the housing market remained fairly stable for the Okanagan-Shuswap with a good build-up in sales in many segments for most of the year and only losing strength during the closing two months. This slowdown carried over into January which is typically not a strong month, and can be partially attributed to the dreary winter weather that keeps people indoors.
Board-wide, overall sales for the month were down 5% compared to last year at this time. Sales of all property types dropped by 32% in the North Okanagan and 3% in the Shuswap, but the Central Okanagan showed a 4% improvement over January 2012.
During January, the Central Okanagan showed the greatest strength with a 16% bump in townhouse sales and 5% rise in the sale of single family residential homes. While the Shuswap saw a 5% dip in single family sales, the North Okanagan took a hit this month with a 40% decline in this segment.
While we expect sluggish sales will likely continue in February, we are cautiously optimistic that the second quarter of 2013 will see an improvement in our housing market. Signs of renewed buyer interest are already evident as open house traffic and calls for showings are on the rise.
People who need to make a move to satisfy lifestyle changes can’t afford to continue with a wait-and-see approach indefinitely and will finally get off the fence. Serious buyers could be waiting for the much anticipated transition from HST to PST/GST on April 1st, and will proceed with purchases this Spring while there is still an attractive selection of properties to choose from and low interest rates are ongoing.
Active listings are trending downward as fewer new listings are being taken, and sales are picking up with the level of demand. While there is no longer an oversupply of inventory, days on the market are up with listings taking 150 days on average Board-wide to sell, so it is important for sellers to be patient and note that they may need to list their properties for six months rather than three.