House sales slowing in Central Okanagan

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Sales of single-family homes are down in the central Okanagan, will prices follow suit? – Jul 11, 2018

After two booming years of swift home sales, the real estate market in the Central Okanagan is changing.

“There is a transition taking place in our market affecting single-family homes,” Royal LePage realtor Dave Domeij said.

According to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB), 228 single-family homes sold last month compared to 283 in June 2017.

That’s a nearly 20 per cent drop, a stark difference from the last couple of years.

“The frantic pace at which buyers were buying houses was dramatic,” OMREB director Dean Desrosiers said. “Not only were there multiple offers happening at all price ranges, there was sort of an urgency and a panic level with buyers because they were worried that the Kelowna market would be sold out in many situations. Now that has changed.”

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As the market shifts, a lot of would-be-buyers are hesitating and waiting to see what happens next.

“There is a lot of people that want to buy, but they kind of are dragging their tail because it is a wait-and-see type of attitude,” Domeij said.

Those in the industry say stricter mortgage rules and the proposed speculation tax have contributed to the slowdown.

While home sales have slowed, prices have remained high, something experts say is a hangover from what was a faster moving market, with many sellers not prepared to adjust their prices, at least not yet.

“Asking prices will come down,” Desrosiers said. “It makes a lot of sense that as buyers are shopping and they are not finding what they want, they are not writing offers, it makes sense that the seller would adjust their price.”

And that’s not the only piece of potentially good news for buyers.

“We are also seeing the listing inventory starting to build and that is an exciting thing for a buyer. In the last two years there has not been a lot of selection,” Desrosiers said. “We would go out and show properties and someone might be looking at one or two properties now we can go out and show people five or six.”

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While buyers may have more to choose from, their choices on what they can afford may be more limited as the Bank Of Canada once again raised its interest rate Wednesday.

READ MORE: Canadians should ‘buy smaller’ homes in response to interest hike, Bank of Canada head says