Another month of rising sales and tightening inventory shows us that 2016 continues to move us towards our strongest early spring market since 2008. Sales of single family homes in February this year are up 80% over February last year and continues to outperform sales since 2008! Now with just 6 months of inventory on the market, February’s inventory was even tighter than January’s inventory when we should be expecting more listings as we move towards the spring market. An early look at March shows that month-to-date sales are doubled over last year providing further evidence that the North Okanagan real estate market is ready to shine. This is further evidence that we can anticipate a Seller’s market in 2016.
Sales - The total sales for the 12 months ending February 2016 was at 991, down only 2.8% from the 1,020 for the 12 months ending February 2015. However, we see that year-to-date sales for 2016 are trending up with a 60% increase over last year. The 12 month average for 2016 will likely outpace last year within the next month or two.
Inventory - The 12 month average monthly inventory of single family homes rose again for the third time in 5 years, a lagging response to previous slowing sales. The 12 month average monthly inventory rose 3% to 553 for the last 12 months ending in February 2016 compared to 537 for the same period in 2015. Again, we will likely see that reverse as we continue to see strong sales in this spring market as tightening inventory pushes us further towards a strong market for Sellers.
Prices - Prices continue to edge up as we see continued upward pressure on average median prices. At $356,617, average median prices for the last 12 months ending in February 2016 rose 3.3% from 12 months ending in February 2015 and was up 9.3% from 2012/13 when we reached the lowest average median price of the last 9 years. With price being one of the last indicators affected by changes in sales and inventory, it will be interesting to watch what happens to prices if sales continue to climb in 2016. We could be back to the peak prices we saw in 2008. Right now we are only 2% off of those peak prices.
Absorption Rate - The rate at which our inventory is being absorbed by sales continues lower over the short term. The average absorption rate of 14.73% over the 12 month period ending February 2016 dropped below last year’s figure of 15.36% for the sixth time in a row. However, looking at February 2016 absorption we can see that it is double last February. Also, at the end of February 2016, with only 6 months of available homes on the market, down one from last month, further indicates our move towards a Seller’s market.
The early spring market continues on a high note. With the indicators of higher sales, lower inventory AND higher prices, it is looking like 2016 is shaping up as a good year for Sellers in the North Okanagan real estate market.
For Buyers and Sellers it still remains important to look carefully at comparable sales of similar homes in areas similar to where your home is located. That is our only valid indicator of home values in any market.