Okanagan Real Estate News from Bo Skapski November 2015   
  Real Estate News

Bo Skapski

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

Saving up for a down payment can sometimes feel totally overwhelming.  This month’s first article discusses a few budgeting strategies that’ll make it much easier.

We’ve also included some tips on how to reduce stress this holiday season as well as a solution that’ll significantly reduce the amount of junk email you receive.

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 Real Estate Market Report 
Okanagan achieves home sales record in October!

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reports that a new record for MLS® residential sales for the month of October has been reached.

A total of 653 residential sales were posted last month, up 3.8 per cent from the previous year, smashing the previous October record of 648 sold units set in 2007.
“Housing demand has been robust in the Okanagan this fall,” said Christopher Miller, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the Central Okanagan.  “Strong fundamentals have boosted consumer confidence and led to rising home sales throughout most of the Okanagan region.”
BC’s strong performing economy; rock bottom mortgage interest rates and robust population growth have provided a solid foundation for the housing market.  While the fallout from the collapse of oil prices has negatively impacted some BC communities, most of the Okanagan has experienced an increase in housing demand this year.
“The inventory of homes for sale was down 8.6 per cent in October compared to the same month last year.  The combination of rising demand and fewer homes for sale has created sellers’ market conditions in some communities and product types,” said Miller.
Within OMREB’s three diverse markets – Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, and Shuswap-Revelstoke areas – sales activity and prices, and supply and demand tends to vary among property types at different times and locations, with ups and downs experienced zone-by-zone and month-by-month.
“The Central Okanagan and Shuswap markets have exhibited relative strength this year while housing demand in the North Okanagan has edged lower largely as the result of a weaker Alberta economy,” added Miller.
In order to fully understand the current residential market, and to look at trends within property types and varying price points in different neighbourhoods, it is important to consult with a REALTOR®.
Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke):  Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s Board area during October 2015 increased 3.8 per cent compared to 2014 (to 733 units from 706) and rose 3.6 per cent year-to-date (to 7,728 from 7,463).  Board-wide, total residential sales for the month were up 3.2 per cent over last year at this time (at 655 units from 635) while year-to-date sales improved by 5.2 per cent compared to 2014 (to 7,060 units from 6,712).
Single family home sales across the board area were essentially unchanged, albeit with three additional units, compared to October 2014 (to 341 from 338) while year-to-date sales were up 3.8 per cent (at 3,701 from 3,564).
The average number of days to sell a single family home in October was at 88 days board-wide, compared to 112 days at this time last year.  Year-to-date, homes are selling within 89 days compared to 105 days during the same period in 2014 (January through October).  The 1,002 new listings taken board-wide for the month were down 11.3 per cent compared to the 1,130 listings posted in October 2014, while inventory (active listings) declined 9.7 per cent to 6,090 from 6,742 last year at this time.
Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country):  During October, overall sales of all property types in the Central Zone were up 9.2 per cent with 476 units compared to 436 in 2014.  Year-to-date sales activity increased by 7.0 per cent compared to the same period last year (January through October) to 5,060 units from 4,730 in 2014.
Total residential sales for the month rose 9.0 per cent to 435 units compared to 399 in 2014, and was up proved by 9.0 per cent year-to-date (to 4,714 from 4,325).  The sale of single family homes was up 6.4 per cent over last October (to 216 from 203) and was up 7.8 per cent year-to-date (to 2,388 from 2,216).
Average days to sell a single family home in the Central Okanagan in October was down to 67 days compared to 69 in 2014 while year-to-date averaged 64 days compared to 73 during the same ten-month period last year.  The 644 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month was 15.3 per cent less than the 760 in 2014.
North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby):  Overall property sales for October in the North Zone declined 12 per cent to 146 units compared to 166 last year at this time.  Sales activity year-to-date were down 6.4 per cent to 1,650 units compared to 1,758 during the first ten months of 2014.
Total residential sales were down 14.3 per cent this past month to 126 units compared to 147 in 2014, and were down 5.7 per cent year-to-date (to 1,484 from 1,574).  Single family home sales declined 24.4 per cent over last October (to 68 from 90) and fell 10.4 per cent year-to-date (to 818 from 913).
Average days to sell a single family home in the North Okanagan was 88 days in October compared to 105 in 2014 while homes sold in 84 days on average year-to-date compared to 102 during the same period last year.  The 248 new listings taken for the month was up 6 per cent over the 234 recorded for the period in 2014.
Shuswap Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke):  In October, sales activity for all property types in the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone increased by 6.7 per cent over 2014 (at 111 units compared to 104) while the year-to-date sales were up 4.5 per cent over the same ten-month period last year (at 1,018 units from 975).  Total residential unit sales for the month were up 5.6 per cent compared to October 2014 (at 94 units from 895) and rose 6.0 per cent year-to-date (to 1,018 from 975).

The sale of single family homes climbed 26.7 per cent (to 57 units from 45 last year) and was up 13.8 per cent year-to-date (to 495 from 435) compared to October 2014.  The average of 109 days to sell a single family home in the Shuswap during October was down 33 per cent compared to 163 days in 2014, while homes have sold in 118 days on average year-to-date compared to 140 during the same period last year.  The 119 new listings taken in the Zone in October, down 12.5 per cent compared to 136 in 2014. Overall inventory was down 9.9 per cent to 1,289 from 1,430 last year at this time.

Making Cents of your Down Payment 
Buying a home is exciting but saving up for it can be a challenge.

A home is typically the largest single purchase you’ll ever make so it’s important to be aware of your financial circumstances and have a plan of action.

Once you figure out how much you’ll need, open up a savings account specifically for home ownership so you can automatically transfer a set amount into it each month.  Here are a few ideas that’ll help you reach your goal:

  1. Consolidate Debts - If you carry a credit card balance, consolidate it to a line of credit that offers a lower interest rate.

  2. Government Assistance - Research the various government buyer assistance programs that are available to qualified individuals.

  3. Cut out the Big Stuff - Consider selling your car and using public transit or perhaps look for a roommate to help out with the rent and utilities.

  4. Cut out the Small Stuff - Buying lunch even a few times a week costs thousands of dollars a year so pack a lunch instead and give up the fancy daily latte.

  5. Making Menus - Planning weekly menus means you’ll be less likely to order take out or overspend on groceries.

  6. Dream It - Put a picture of your dream home in a prominent place to constantly remind you of your goal.  Visualization combined with good old fashioned willpower will help turn your dreams into reality!

Saving up for a down payment requires discipline and patience.  Just don’t get discouraged and remember that every little bit you save will help you eventually achieve your dream!  There are various programs available to assist home buyers with their down payment needs so if you or someone you know requires some help, please get in touch.

Surviving the Stress of the Season 
It’s never too early to start getting organized for the holidays!

It’s easy to get stressed out during the holiday season but a little advance planning will help put things right so that you’ll be able to relax and enjoy yourself!  Here are a few ideas that'll help relieve the seasonal stress:

  1. Shop Early - Shopping ahead of time (with a list!) means less stress later on.  You’re also more likely to stay on budget rather than panicking last minute and overspending.

  2. Skip the Stores - Do your shopping online so you don't have to waste time aimlessly wandering around only to end up in huge lineups.  It’s also much easier to do price comparisons online.

  3. Expect the Unexpected - Have a few pre-wrapped "stand-by gifts" for those unexpected occasions where a gift's immediately needed.

  4. Keep it Together - Keep wrapping paper, tags, tape, scissors, cards and stamps organized in one central spot.  Wrap as you go so you’re not rushing last minute and note the contents on a sticky note.

  5. Just Say No! - Don’t commit to parties or get togethers that you can’t manage.  The holidays aren’t a time for unnecessary obligations that chew up your time.

Although the holiday season is full of joy and laughter, it also comes with increased demands that can weigh heavily upon us.  If you manage the pressures by planning well ahead, you'll be able to enjoy the season instead of just surviving it.

How to Win the Fight Against Spam 
Are you scared to check your email because your inbox is bursting at the seams?

Checking email used to be fun but scammers and spammers have turned it into an overwhelming, time consuming chore.

Cloudmark DesktopOne does an amazing job at filtering out junk mail and unlike many of its competitors, it’s extremely accurate at identifying what is and isn’t spam.  If it does make a mistake, you can correct it with the click of a button.

The basic version is free, easy to set up and works with most email service providers.  Without a ton of spam to constantly sift through, you’ll once again look forward to checking your email.  Let me know how it works out for you!

PS Instant Email Notification
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An Easier Way...
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