Okanagan Real Estate News from Bo Skapski January 2018   
  Real Estate News




Bo Skapski
Bo Knows Homes Desrosiers Cook Team

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


 
One of the biggest decisions house hunters have to make is whether to go old or new. This month's article will hopefully help make the decision a little easier.

There are also some tips on what to do if you hear strange noises coming from your home as well as the lowdown on geocaching which is a fun and healthy way to enjoy the great outdoors this winter!

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 Real Estate Market Report 
Residential sales volume on-trend for time of year.

Typical for December, volumes in residential sales declined this past month, with 459 sales posted to the MLS®, a 24% decrease from November, but comparable to last year’s sales of 453 units reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

“Outside of a couple of variances, the market is doing what it generally does this time of year,” says OMREB President Tanis Read noting a general slowing of activity. “Sales and listing volumes were both on-trend for this time of year, but, interestingly, average price and days on market bounced back from November.”

New listings were 465, down 65% from November, but relatively consistent with this time last year, when new listings were 407. Average price, however, rose 3.5% over November and 12% over a year ago. Also of note was the days on market, which declined to 79 from last month’s 132 and last year’s 91.

“Higher average price can often reflect the composition of product sold over the course of the month,” says Read, adding “But coupled with the fewer days on market, it may also suggest a continued lag in resale product availability, potentially coupled with consumers possibly looking to lock in purchases before new mortgage rules take effect in January,” comments Read.

Read adds that, regardless of the current market characteristics, it pays to engage a real estate professional well-versed in the complexities of the real estate transaction and knowledgeable about the local market.

Effective January 1, new federal mortgage tightening rules require borrowers with a down payment of 20% or more to face a stress test when renewing or refinancing a mortgage to prove they can cope with the risk of higher interest rates.

“The seventh round of rule tightening by Canada’s federal financial regulator since 2008, these new rules impact both those seeking a mortgage as well as those refinancing their mortgage,” notes Read, adding “the impact may be that those now in the market for a home may have to settle for a less expensive home or wait and save up for a larger down payment.” Read points out that lenders won’t have to apply the stress test to clients who are renewing an existing mortgage.

Taking a look at buyers of homes in the region, the results of which lag the market stats by one month, we find the majority continue to be from within the board region at 54%, with Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island buyers well-represented at 21% up 17% from October. Buyers from Alberta were at 8.5% and those from outside Canada were a relatively small percentage at 3%.

Consistent with previous months, those relocating and moving to similar property types, first-time buyers and move-up buyers were all within points of each other at 21%, 19% and 19% respectively. Likewise, two-parent families with children and couples without children were close at 29% and 26%, with empty nesters/retired buyers the next largest group at 17% of the buyer population.

Old or New; What's Best for You? 
There are various pros and cons with newer and older homes.

Home buyers face countless decisions when purchasing a home. One of the first things to figure out is whether you prefer a newer home or an older home.
 
Comparing newer and older homes can be tricky as it depends on individual preferences as well as family priorities. Here are a few advantages of older homes:

  1. Solid as a Rock - The craftsmanship that went into building homes years ago was usually second to none.



  2. Old World Charm - Older homes usually boast unique architectural features such as crown moulding and stained glass windows.

  3. Location - Older homes are often located in well established communities with mature trees. They're also usually close to popular downtown amenities.

  4. Outdoor Space - Older homes usually have larger lots which is important if you value your privacy or wish to possibly extend your home in the future.

Newer homes on the other hand have their own unique set of advantages. Here are just a few points to consider:

  1. Customizable - You can customize a brand new home to your own tastes with options like heated floors or granite countertops.

  2. Functional - Newer homes are laid out with functional features such as attached garages, larger storage areas and ensuite bathrooms.

  3. Low Maintenance - You're not likely to encounter any serious issues as everything's brand new. The home's exterior will also be much easier to maintain.

  4. Energy Efficient - Better windows, insulation and appliances mean newer homes are more energy efficient which translates into lower monthly utility bills.

Newer homes are usually more functional but older homes offer a level of character that new homes can't match. You may already have a good idea of what you prefer but keep an open mind as you become more familiar with the pros and cons of each. This is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make so do your research before signing on the dotted line!

Things that go Bump in the Night 
Are your home’s strange sounds keeping you up at night?

Part of settling into a new home is figuring out what noises are normal. Most are nothing to worry about but some could signal a deeper issue. Here are a few that you should pay attention to:

  1. Furnace Noises - A humming noise is normal but loud pops, scraping, grinding or squealing sounds should be checked out professionally.



  2. Scratching Sounds - The dreaded sound of scratching likely means you have rodents that are making themselves at home so take notice before it gets out of hand.



  3. Running Water - Check for leaks and water damage around the home. If you can’t figure it out quickly, call a plumber as it could mean a broken pipe.

  4. Gurgling Toilet - Gurgling noises coming from the toilet could signal a blockage in the toilet or drain, a blockage in the vent stack or a main sewer drain blockage.



  5. Noisy Fridge - Some whirring and clicking is normal but if your fridge is cracking or popping, it could be a compressor or a temperature regulation issue.

You can expect to hear some noises coming from your home as the various building materials will contract and expand. Just keep an ear out for anything unusual and don’t hesitate to call a professional if in doubt! 

GeoCaching -- High Tech Hide and Seek 
If your New Year’s Resolution was to get active, consider geocaching!

Geocaching is a high tech treasure hunt where a GPS app is used to locate various hidden caches. It's a great way to get active with your family while exploring the great outdoors!

Geocaches are hidden stashes that contain small treasures along with a logbook. Once you find a geocache, you replace the treasure with something of your own, log in your details and then check-in online.

Exploring hometown hiking trails takes on a whole new meaning when geocaching and the best part is it doesn't cost a cent! Instead of searching around for the remote this Sunday afternoon, head outdoors for a real life treasure hunt!



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!
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Not meant to solicit clients already under contract.