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Okanagan home sales drop, prices just slightly

Housing sales have dropped in the Central Okanagan but prices have only taken a slight dip.

The real estate market throughout much of the Okanagan and surrounding area looks and feels a lot different than a year ago.

It’s halfway through 2019 and home sales are down substantially.

“We are down about 12 per cent,” said Michael Loewen, president of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

OMREB overseas the region from Peachland all the way to the Shuswap and Revelstoke.

“I guess you could say we are taking a bit of a breather,” Loewen said. “We are used to so much more robust activity that it seems like a downturn for some but really the market has just normalized.”

In the Central Okanagan, the trend is even more pronounced with residential sales down nearly 15 per cent.

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“Typically there would be more sales,” said realtor Jason Domeij. “This year, the first half of the year, sales have been, there’s been less activity, less inquiries.”

Residential properties are also taking longer to sell.

“Homes on average are a little bit longer, have a longer shelf life,” Domeij said.

In the Central Okanagan, the average time for a home to be on the market is about three months. That compares to only six weeks at this time last year.

But the slower sales haven’t translated into a large drop in prices. The average single-family home in the Central Okanagan costs around $692,000. That’s down only about 3.5 per cent.

According to those in the industry, the slight drop in prices is leaving potential buyers watching and waiting for further price reductions.

“I think that people that are actively searching in the market are more cautious,” Domeij said. “They are looking for a deal. Will that elusive deal will really occur? It’s hard to say.”

According to industry insiders, the mortgage stress test and the speculation tax are among the factors contributing to the slower market.

But OMREB’s president doesn’t expect any major market adjustments moving ahead.

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“The economy continues to do well, B.C. continues to lead the country…the Okanagan is still a desirable place to live,” Loewen said. “So we don’t see any dark clouds on the horizon. We think the Okanagan will continue to grow and prosper.”

Click here for a link to OMREB stats.