Charlie Veaudry

Serving you with passion!

More BIG news this month as average median prices have surpassed peak levels of 2008 and have now reached the highest ever in the history of real estate in the North Okanagan Valley. Again, we ask... where will they go from here and how fast? Sales of single family homes in April this year are up 39% over April last year and continues to outperform April sales since 2005! Now, with just 4 months of inventory on the market, April inventory has not been this low since 2007 when we experienced our strongest real estate market in history. As this Sellers’ market gains more momentum we need to find more inventory for these hungry Buyers. If you want to sell your home, now is the best time ever.


Sales - The total sales for the 12 months ending April 2016 was at 1,068, up 6% from the 1,007 for the 12 months ending April 2015. Year-to-date sales for 2016 remain strong with a 54% increase over last year. The 12 month average for 2016 has now outpaced 2007/08 and is closing in on 2006/07 sales volume.


Inventory - The 12 month average monthly inventory of single family homes is still slightly higher than last year, something that the strengthening sales will eliminate fairly soon. The 12 month average monthly inventory rose 1.5% to 541 for the last 12 months ending in April 2016 compared to 533 for the same period in 2015. Again, we will likely see that reverse as we continue to see strong sales in this spring market. The tightening inventory is pushing us further towards higher prices and a strong market for Sellers. As mentioned earlier, if you want to sell your home, now is a good time.


Prices - Here is the BIG news this month!! Prices have surpassed the peak levels of 2007/08! At $364,813, average median prices for the last 12 months ending in April 2016 are now at the highest level in the history of real estate in the North Okanagan Valley! Average median prices rose 5.2% from 12 months ending in April 2015 just one year ago. Average median prices are up 11.8% from 2012/13 the lowest average median price of the last 9 years. This is 1.2% higher than the previously highest prices of 2007/08. With prices now surpassing those previous peak levels, where will they go from here and how fast? If you are a Buyer sitting and waiting on the sidelines, it will cost you more to continue waiting. 


Absorption Rate - The rate at which our inventory is being absorbed by sales continues on an upward trend. The average absorption rate of 16.38% over the 12 month period ending April 2016 is up from the 15.22% for the same period last year. However, looking the absorption for the month of April 2016 only, we can see that it is almost double last April and has not been this high for 10 years since April 2006. Also, at the end of April 2016, there were only 4 months of available homes on the market, down one from last month. That is the lowest April inventory since 2007. Not to sound like a broken record... if you want to sell your home, now is the time!


The spring market continues on a high note. With the indicators of higher sales, lower inventory AND higher prices, it is looking like 2016 is already a good year for Sellers in the North Okanagan real estate market. Buyers will have to be sharp and ready to move or risk losing out to the ever increasing number of new Buyers entering our market. And the longer Buyers wait in this market, the more they will pay for their home. That is just how the market principle of supply and demand works and there is nothing anyone can do about it. It just is.

If you have any questions about the market, please feel free to contact me at any time. You can go to my stats page here to view the graphs and full detailed data.
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Where do Buyers come from to purchase properties in the Okanagan Valley? If you thought you knew, you may be surprised to learn about some recent shifts as shown in the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) statistics for this first quarter of 2016.


The summary highlights are as follows:

  • we have seen significant DECREASE in the number of Buyers coming to the Okanagan Valley from Alberta, from other parts of British Columbia (excluding the lower mainland and Vancouver Island), Ontario, Quebec and the maritimes, and 
  • we have seen significant INCREASE in the number of Buyers coming to the Okanagan Valley from the lower mainland and Vancouver Island, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and from outside of Canada.


People come from far and wide to buy homes here in this place I love to call Paradise, the Okanagan Valley. As we see shifts and changes in the global, national and regional economies it is interesting to observe how it affects where the Buyers come from to buy properties in our local Okanagan Valley real estate market.


As we look at the regions that show a derease in the numbers of Buyers coming to our area it should be no surprise to see that Buyers from Alberta have dropped off the most. In the 1st quarter of this year, we saw 46.8% fewer Buyers coming here to purchase properties than we saw in the 1st quarter of 2015. That significant drop is easy to understand when we see how the drop in global oil prices has affected employment in the oil industry.


It should also come as no surprise to see how that same global oil price phenomenon has impacted the northern regions of BC where local economies are also largely dependent on oil. In the 1st quarter of this year we saw a 37% drop in the number of Buyers coming to the Okanagan Valley from other parts of BC outside of the lower mainland and Vancouver Island.


By contrast, it is intersting to observe the difference in the motivations of the few remaing Buyers that are coming here from Alberta and northern BC. From my personal experience working with these Buyers, they are intent on planning for their earlier-than-originally-planned retirement. I hear a lot of... "Why stay in Alberta? We have the only NDP provincial government in Canada and we don't see any big improvements coming to the oil sector in the near future." They are buying Okanagan properties while these properties are still affordable so that they can avoid paying the inevitable higher prices when they retire 5 to 10 years from now.


The areas that are the source of the largest increases in our Buyers are markets outside of Canada. Given the low value of our Canadian dollar, it explains why investors from outside of Canada can see better value to owning real estate in Canada. After all, when compared to the US dollar, it looks like Canada is on sale for half price. Buyers from outside of Canada have increased 70% this 1st quarter from the 1st quarter of 2015.


We have seen a 40.7% increase in the number of Buyers coming to the Okanagan from the lower mainland and Vancouver Island. The most consistenly compelling story that I am hearing is... "Why wouldn't I sell my Vancouver teardown for $2.2 million. I bought it 15 years ago for $465,000, paid down half my mortgage so I'll just put $1.5 million in the bank and buy a nice Okanagan Lake View home for $550,000 and live happily ever after here in Paradise."


The lower value of our currency also makes it more attractive for Canadian Buyers from other parts of Canada to consider investing in the Okanagan Valley as oppsed to the southern US where we saw a lot of our real estate dollars going since 2008. That may explain why we have seen a 27.6% increase in the number of Buyers coming to the Okanagan from Saskatchewan and Manitoba.



The socio-economic stability of Canada combined with the beautiful semi-arid climate of the Okanagan Valley will continue to attract people to our region. This will protect values and encourage continued investment in real estate in the Okanagan / Shuswap region. So continue to feel encouraged about investing in real estate in our Okanagan Valley. Whether you are a new home Buyer, moving up to a bigger home or an investor looking to increase your portfolio, it's a good time to buy property in the Okanagan Valley.


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