Okanagan Real Estate News from Bo Skapski July 2014   
  Real Estate News

Bo Skapski

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

It’s important to thoroughly explore all your options when arranging a mortgage.  This month’s article discusses some of the factors you should consider when shopping around for financing.

There are also some great ideas on how to extend eco-friendly living to the garden as well as a little known laptop scrolling tip that’s simple yet effective.

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...
Okanagan‐Shuswap Housing Market Ripens for Sellers 
The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported June sales activity of all MLS® property types was up 28 per cent compared to the same month in 2013 – posting the strongest unit sales for June since 2007.

“After six months of steady growth in sales, the Okanagan-Shuswap housing market is experiencing a rebound in consumer demand and has moved firmly into balanced conditions,” says Darcy Griffiths, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the North Okanagan.

“We are seeing more listings than in 2013, but not enough to keep up with the demand in some segments as sales have increased more than inventory.  So if you are looking to sell, now is the time to do it.  With the drop in active listings, the selection of entry level home choices has been significantly reduced, and some buyers are viewing properties in a higher price range to find better inventory.”

The Shuswap leads the way this month with a 46 per cent improvement in overall sales over June 2013, compared to 28 per cent in the North Okanagan, and 26 per cent in the Central Okanagan.  The Shuswap also saw a 43 per cent rise in single family residential sales, compared to 27 per cent in the North Zone, and 14 per cent in the Central Zone where there was an 81 per cent improvement in townhouse sales and 49 per cent in condo sales due to higher inventory and a wider selection in those property types.

“While the Shuswap has seen a significant jump in sales during the past few months compared to 2013 when activity was relatively slow, the Zone continues to remain in buyers’ market territory with more supply than demand,” Griffiths notes.  “Conditions in the North and Central Okanagan are now balanced and on the margin of a seller’s market with more demand than supply in some areas.”

Despite increased purchases at the higher price ranges during May and June, the price of single family homes has remained fairly stable for several months now with relatively modest gains seen in some locations.

“The competition for buyers can still be a challenge for sellers if their properties are not priced well in a balanced market,” Griffiths warns.  “For a successful sale, you must be realistic about the market value of your home, set an attractive list price right out of the gate, and be willing to negotiate for the best offer.  Market conscious and competitive home sellers are sharpening their pencils and seeing results.”

Sales activity within OMREB’s three diverse market areas tends to vary among property types zone-by-zone and month-by-month with ups and downs at different times and locations.  In order to fully understand the overall picture of the current residential market in our Board area, it is important to look at prices within property types and sale price trends within different price points.

Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke):  Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s Board area during June improved by 28.2 per cent compared to 2013 -- to 963 units from 751.  Total residential sales for the month rose 29.9 per cent to 878 units board-wide compared to 676 last June.  The 1,648 new listings taken board-wide for the month were up 10.7 per cent compared to the 1,489 listings posted in June 2013, while inventory (active listings) was down 10.6 per cent over this time last year – to 7,935 from 8,876.

Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country):  During June, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 25.5 per cent -- to 606 units from 483 in 2013.  Total residential sales for the month improved 29.3 per cent to 556 units compared to 430 last year at this time. The sale of single family homes was up 13.8 per cent over June 2013 (to 289 from 254).  The 980 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw an 11.2 per cent rise compared to 881 in 2013, and total inventory was reduced by 13.6 per cent to 4,002 units from 4,629 last June.

North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby):  Overall sales for June in the North Zone improved 28.3 per cent to 236 units compared to 184 units sold last year at this time.  Total residential sales for the month were up 24.1 per cent over last year with 216 units sold compared to 174. Single family home sales (122 units) were up 27.1 per cent compared to June 2013 (96).  While the 401 new listings taken for the month were up 19.4 per cent from the 2013 level of 336, inventory for June saw a 7.8 per cent dip to 2,233 from 2,422 last year.

Shuswap Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke):  During June, overall unit sales in the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone improved by 45.8 per cent to 121 units compared to 83 in 2013.  Total residential unit sales for the month were up 47.2 per cent over last year at 106 units compared to 72, while the sale of single family homes rose 42.5 per cent over June 2013 (to 57 from 40).  New listings taken in the Zone were down marginally (1.1 per cent) compared to last June to 266 units from 269. Overall inventory dipped 6.8 per cent to 1,692 from 1,816 during the same month in 2013.

Taking Advantage of the Mortgage Market 
Deciding on a mortgage is a huge financial decision.

It’s critical to be organized and do plenty of research before arranging a new mortgage or adjusting one that’s already in place.  Here are some points to consider:

  1. Know Your Numbers - Examine your finances so you’ll know exactly what you can afford.  A budget will bring you confidence and peace of mind but the key is to stick to it so you don’t end up house poor.

  2. Get Advice - There are many different types of mortgages so it's critical to seek professional advice.  Interest rates are important but there are other considerations such as the type of mortgage (fixed/variable or open/closed) as well as the loan's duration.

  3. Be Aware - There are many programs that buyers can take advantage of but it’s important to plan in advance.  You’ll also want to be aware of the hidden costs associated with owning a home such as closing, inspection, legal, moving, taxes and maintenance costs.

  4. Get Pre-Approved - A mortgage pre-approval can save you thousands of dollars and eliminate countless hours of stress.  It can also prevent you from losing your dream home as you'll be in a stronger negotiating position at the time of purchase.

  5. Do the Math - Current homeowners can also explore mortgage refinancing options as even half a percentage point can save you thousands of dollars!  The profitability of refinancing however is affected by many variables so examine your individual situation.

No one can forecast the future but it’s a good time to investigate your options if you’ve been sitting on the sidelines.  Low interest rates present a huge opportunity for both first time buyers and existing homeowners but it’s critical to plan your budget, understand the risks of the current and future market and explore all your mortgage options.

How Green Is Your Thumb? 
Gardening is a great way to bring nature into your backyard.

Gardening brings you in tune with the environment so it makes sense to ensure your garden is a natural and eco-friendly space.  There are many ways to work with nature so dig in and consider these options:

  1. Water Wise - Using a rain barrel to collect water that runs off your roof is a great way to recycle water for lawns and gardens as well as washing cars.

  2. Grow Local - Local plants are a great garden choice as they’re hardier, use less water, attract birds and butterflies and are easy to maintain.

  3. Grow Your Own - Nothing beats the taste of home grown veggies and they’re easier to grow than you may think.  They can also be grown in containers which is perfect for smaller yards.

  4. The Dirt on Composting - Kitchen and garden waste can create a rich fertilizer which is often referred to as gardener’s gold!  Composting also significantly reduces garbage waste.

  5. Hug a Tree - Trees remove contaminants from the air while providing habitat for birds and wildlife.  They also save energy by keeping your home cool in the hot summer months.

Having an earth friendly garden grown without pesticides benefits your family, your community and the planet.  Small changes such as the ones above not only help the planet but can also translate into financial gains for the homeowner!

I Just Can't Put My Finger On It 
Laptops come with a variety of tools to help enhance user productivity but we often don’t know how to use them.  Here’s a simple tip for easier laptop browsing!

Rather than clicking and dragging the scrollbar to navigate a website or document, simply slide two fingers on the touchpad in the direction you want to scroll.

This simple trick will save you loads of time as it moves your entire page up and down much like a scroll wheel does on a mouse.  Go ahead and give it a go right now!

PS Instant Email Notification
Searching for Kelowna BC real estate MLS listings used to involve calling on signs or newspaper ads and stumbling onto open houses. The problem with these methods is that you only see a small percentage of what's on the market. The MLS site is far more effective; however, only limited information is revealed, such as the price and number of bedrooms. As a buyer, you want to know all of the pertinent information such as the address, taxes and so on.
An Easier Way...
Our home search technique emails you Kelowna BC Real Estate MLS listings which match your criteria! Just fill out the checklist and whenever new MLS listings hit the Kelowna BC real estate market matching your criteria, they're flagged and automatically emailed to you. There's no need to spend your spare time searching for homes which may not even match your criteria - just sit back and relax!
Free & No Obligation...
Best of all, this exclusive service is offered to you absolutely free and with no obligation. Just take a few moments to complete the following checklist and you'll instantly be on your way to mastering the Kelowna BC real estate market!

Not meant to solicit clients already under contract.