Okanagan Real Estate News from Bo Skapski February 2017   
  Real Estate News

Bo Skapski

Assurance Realty Ltd.
#100 - 1634 Harvey Avenue
Kelowna, BC
250-808-5508 or 1-888-301-2121

It's always good to be aware of the latest home and garden trends, especially if you're looking for ways to make your home more appealing to buyers.  This month's article highlights a few of the latest trends.

There are also some tips on how to clear up your digital clutter as well as a few ideas on how to naturally clean your home using lemons.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Bo Skapski

In this issue...
The Okanagan Real Estate Market Report 
January residential sales activity consistent with last year.

Residential sales across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland totaled 353 in January, consistent with a year ago when 334 homes were sold, yet a 22% decrease over the 453 sales in December, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

“While sales volume for January was just 5.6% higher than a year ago, the inventory of properties available for sale is 30% lower than this time last year,” says Anthony Bastiaanssen, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the central Okanagan.

“The impact of low inventories becomes very evident when you consider average pricing now, compared to a year ago when inventories were higher,” Bastiaanssen comments, noting that the average price in January was $439,472.99, 4.8% lower than December, yet 21% higher than this time last year.  Days on market for January was 96, relatively consistent with December at 91 and November at 96.

“Given the high number of building permits that were taken out over the course of this past year, we’re hopeful that new properties will begin to come onto the market, which should positively impact housing affordability,” Bastiaanssen adds.

Low inventories may also impact prospective buyers, as there may be competition for those properties that are available for sale.  “It’s worthwhile for buyers to engage their own Realtor to work on their behalf as the listing REALTOR®’s fiduciary duty must be to the seller with whom they’ve signed a contract,” says Bastiaanssen, adding that a Realtor can help ensure buyers don’t miss out on new listings and has the knowledge and expertise to draft and negotiate offers that will be attractive to sellers in a competitive marketplace.

“Since the OMREB Buyer survey was launched six years ago, move-up buyers have, on average, accounted for 23.3% of purchasers while first time buyers are 20.3%,” comments Bastiaanssen.  “The 75 month average also shows that most buyers of Okanagan homes are those who already live in the area at 57.7%, followed by folks from Alberta and the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island.”

While buyers from Alberta and the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island swapped positions in the past couple of years, Bastiaanssen notes that this trend reversed itself in December 2016 with Alberta buyers inching out Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island buyers at 11.1% of total buyers (up from 9.2% in November) and Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island buyers coming in at 10.1% (down from 16.5%).  Foreign buyers continue to account for a small proportion of buyers, with the six year average at 2.1%.

Hot Home Trends for 2017 
The new year is a great time to update your living space!

It’s fun to follow the latest home and garden trends, especially if you're hoping to make your home more attractive to buyers.  Here are a few of the latest trends to look out for:

  1. Shedquarters - A “shedquarter” is a private, backyard spot that can be used as an office, artist workspace or party area.

  2. Docking Stations - Small, pull down desks can be added almost anywhere as wireless technology enables us to shift away from traditional home offices.

  3. Vintage Vanities - Putting your bathroom sink on just about anything is huge this year!  Old dressers, filing cabinets and even tree trunks can be converted into unique vanities.

  4. Laundry Love - Homeowners are giving their laundry rooms some serious love with innovative storage solutions, bright lighting and even stylish wallpaper!

  5. Foodscaping - Instead of traditional vegetable patches, backyards are now being transformed into edible landscapes that include vegetables, berries, fruits and herbs.

  6. Smart Windows - Cutting edge window technology now allows our windows to be programmed according to the weather outside as well as the air quality inside.

Just like fashion, home trends can come and go so it’s important not to overcommit.  Hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration as to what’s coming next, whether you’re thinking of selling or just simply looking to update your home.

Clean Up Your Digital Clutter 
Get a jump on spring cleaning by clearing out your digital clutter.

Paper files are often the first items we purge during a spring clean but many times we neglect our digital files.  Kick off your spring clean this year with a deep, digital cleanse:

  1. Get a Pass - Use a password manager to encrypt one master password that can be used on all websites.

  2. Address Your Apps - Uninstall apps you no longer use to clear up space and keep your phone running smoothly.

  3. Manage Mail - Unsubscribe from emails you no longer read and delete old emails or organize them into folders.

  4. Clear Cache - Regularly clear your browser history, cache and cookies in order to create more storage and speed up your browser.

  5. Back it Up - Make sure all of your important files and photos are automatically backed up to the cloud to increase storage space.

This digital cleanse applies to your computer, smartphone and all your social media accounts.  While you’re at it, you should also review your privacy settings on apps and social media platforms to make sure you’re sharing information with the right audiences.

The Power of Lemon Aid 
The lowly lemon can make quite the impact around the house!

Load up on lemons if you're searching for a powerful, environmentally friendly cleaner that can tackle virtually any household chore!  Here are just a few ways they can make your home naturally sparkle:

  • lemon juice is great at absorbing stains on countertops

  • soak carpet stains for 20 minutes then rinse and blot

  • mix lemon juice with baking soda to create a scouring paste

  • heat a bowl of water with sliced lemons in the microwave for a few minutes before wiping it down

Lemons are an excellent alternative to toxic cleansers plus they'll fill your home with a refreshing citrus scent!  A great tip for squeezing as much juice as possible from your lemons is to microwave them for 30 seconds, wait a minute, then cut and squeeze.

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