Okanagan Real Estate News from Bo Skapski January 2016   
  Real Estate News

Bo Skapski

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

First impressions are critical when it comes to real estate so if you’re thinking of selling your home, you’ll want to ensure your foyer feels spacious and inviting.  This month’s newsletter discusses some ideas to help revamp this often neglected space.

We’ve also included some tips that will help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions as well as a few apps to help make your life a little easier throughout 2016!

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please don’t hesitate to 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 
December housing demand results in near record year!

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reports that MLS® residential sales posted a record for the month of December at 444 units, up 6.7 per cent from December 2014.

Last month’s results contributed to 2015 being the busiest year since 2007, when a record 8,702 annual transactions were counted.  A total of 7,988 residential sales were recorded for 2015, up 6.2 per cent from the 7,525 sales in 2014.

“Considerable momentum has built up in the Okanagan housing market,” said Christopher Miller, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the Central Okanagan.  “The exceptionally strong pace of December home sales will likely translate into a strong market in first half of 2016.”

Strong provincial economic growth is generating relatively robust employment growth and rising wages, and contributing to a net inflow of migrants from other provinces.  Historically low mortgage interest rates are also expected to continue underpinning housing demand.

“The inventory of homes for sale is now down over 10 per cent from a year ago, with fewer homes on the market this winter than at any time since 2007.  Home sellers that list early this year can take advantage of the tight market conditions,” said Miller.

OMREB’s three diverse markets – Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, and Shuswap-Revelstoke – have different sales activity and prices, with supply and demand varying 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 December 2015 edged back 0.6 per cent compared to 2014 (to 484 units from 487) and rose 4.3 per cent year-to-date (to 8,840 from 8,478).  Board-wide, total residential sales for the month were up four per cent over last year at this time (at 444 units from 426) while year-to-date sales by 6.2 per cent compared to 2014 (to 7,988 units from 7,525).

Single family home sales across the board area were essentially unchanged compared to December 2014 (226 versus 225) while year-to-date sales were up four per cent (at 4,190 from 4,027).  The average number of days to sell a single family home in December was 129 days Board-wide, compared to 113 days at this time last year.  Year-to-date, homes are selling within 109 days compared to 115 days during the same period in 2014.

The 535 new listings taken board-wide for the month were up one per cent compared to the 530 listings posted in December 2014, while inventory (total active listings) declined 13.4 per cent to 5,343 from 6,167 last year at this time.

Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country):  During December, overall sales of all property types in the Central Zone were up 10 per cent with 341 units compared to 331 in 2014. During 2015, sales activity increased by 7.8 per cent compared to 2014, with 5,448 units sold from 5,060 in 2014.

Total residential sales for the month rose 15.8 per cent to 316 units compared to 273 in 2014, and were up by 10 per cent in 2015 to 5,376 units from 4,887 units in 2014.  The sale of single family homes was up 9.2 per cent over December 2014 (to 154 from 141) and was up 7.7 per cent over the entire year to 2,695 from 2,503 in 2014.

Average days to sell a single family home in the Central Okanagan in October was 71 days compared to 86 in 2014, while year-to-date averaged 65 days compared to 74 during the 2014.  The 376 new listings were taken in the Central Okanagan during the month was up 8.7 per cent from the 310 units recorded in December 2014.

North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby):  Overall property sales for December in the North Zone were down 23 per cent to 86 units compared to 112 last year at this time.  Sales activity year-to-date was down 4.7 per cent to 1,897 units compared to 1,991 during 2014.

Total residential sales were down 18 per cent this past month to 77 units compared to 94 units in December 2014, and were down 3.6 per cent year-to-date (to 1,703 from 1,767). Single family home sales were down 8.5 per cent over last December (to 43 from 47) and declined 7.8 per cent year-to-date (to 937 from 1,017).

Average days to sell a single family home in the North Okanagan was 103 days in December compared to 130 in 2014, while homes sold in 87 days on average year-to-date compared to 104 during the same period last year.  The 146 new listings taken for the month was up 15.9 per cent over the 126 recorded for the period in 2014.

Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke):  In December, sales activity for all property types in the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone declined by 12.3 per cent over 2014 (at 57 units compared to 65) while the year-to-date sales were up 3.3 per cent compared to last year (at 1,151 units from 1,114).  Total residential unit sales for the month were down 18.8 per cent compared to December 2014 (at 26 units from 32) and rose 5.2 per cent year-to-date (to 924 from 878).

The sale of single family homes declined 8.75 per cent (to 26 units from 32 last year) and was up 9.5 per cent year-to-date (to 554 from 506) compared to December 2014.  The average of 116 days to sell a single family home in the Shuswap during December was down 29 per cent compared to 164 days in 2014, while homes have sold in 119 days on average year-to-date compared to 147 during the same period last year.

There were 63 new listings taken in the Zone in December, unchanged from 2014. Overall inventory was down 11.3 per cent to 945 units from 1,099 last year at this time.

How to Make a Grand Entrance 
Enhancing your home’s entryway can make a huge difference!

Your foyer's the first impression people get when they enter your home so it’s critical to properly showcase this severely underrated area, especially if you’re trying to sell your home.

Transforming your foyer from a dumping ground into a grand entrance is easy!  Here are a few ways to create an amazing first impression in an area that typically experiences a lot of wear and tear:

  1. Clear Clutter - A chaotic looking hallway will turn buyers off so remove clothing that’s no longer in season.  Organize hats and scarves in stylish baskets and stack footwear in an orderly fashion.

  2. Lighten Up - Foyers are usually fairly dark so clean light fixtures and use a brighter bulb to cast more light.  Painting the walls a light shade will open up the area and a strategically placed mirror will create the illusion of additional space.

  3. Add Some Style - Check out antique markets or yard sales for unique pieces of furniture.  A small bench for guests to sit on while taking off their shoes works well for larger areas while a small table to catch keys is perfect for compact spaces.

  4. Spruce It Up - Breathe some life into your gloomy hallway by adding a few plants or fresh flowers.  If you’re selling, don’t forget to replace the cluttered mass of family photos that creep up the stairs with a few neutral pictures.

A functional yet welcoming foyer will create an amazing first impression that'll maximize your home's appeal to potential buyers.  Transforming your lacklustre hallway is important even if you’re not selling because this space sets the tone for the rest of your home.  If you walk into a dark, cluttered mess it won’t generate the positive feelings that help put a smile on your face :)

New Year, New Resolution 
Sometimes it’s easier to break them than it is to make them!

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably set a few New Year’s resolutions.  Making them is one thing but keeping them is a whole different story!

Setting goals instils a sense of discipline but it’s easy to become disillusioned if you’re not achieving them.  It’s therefore important to set realistic goals and then break them down into bite-size pieces.

If you find yourself giving up after a few weeks because your enthusiasm tapers off, it might be time to try something new.  Instead of just setting a traditional goal, try exploring how you’d like to feel in 2016.

For example, if you want to feel healthy this coming year then you may want to set a goal to take a 30 minute walk each day.  If on the other hand you want to feel calmer, you could reduce your caffeine or join a yoga class.

When you focus on the positive feeling behind your goal, it’s easier to achieve because you’re not just blindly saying “go to the gym” which likely won’t last.  If you write down your goals, review them regularly and place them in a prominent place so you can visualize the end result, you’re sure to succeed!

An Appy Lifestyle! 
Apps can help kick-start new habits that will change your life!

If you’re looking to make some changes in the coming year perhaps your smartphone can help you out!  Here are a few apps that are worth a look:

  1. Duolingo - An absolute must if learning a new language is on your to-do list for 2016.

  2. Walk Me Up - Instead of just hitting snooze, this app forces you to get up and walk a number of steps before you’re able to turn off the alarm.

  3. Happify - This app is designed to help you overcome negative thoughts by offering a series of games that train your brain and build skills for lasting happiness.

There are a variety of apps that will help you set and monitor your goals for 2016.  Some even give you the option to make them public in order to motivate you further.  Whatever your goals or interests are, you’ll most definitely find an app to suit your needs!

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