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

Bo Skapski

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

Moving to a new home is an exciting life change but it can also be extremely stressful.  This month’s first article outlines some strategies that'll help things go smoothly.

There’s also some important advice on how to prevent a clothes dryer fire as well as a few apps that’ll come in handy if you’re planning on renovating or decorating your home.

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 Strongest in Eight Years 
The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported sales activity of all MLS® property types in June 2015 as the strongest in eight years.

Up five per cent from the same month last year, the housing market has shown an eight per cent improvement year-to-date compared to the same six-month period in 2014.
The BC economy is currently the best performing in the country with population growth, reinvigorated consumer confidence and pent-up demand key drivers of the real estate market as it bounces back to 2007 sales levels in most areas of the province.

“Strong consumer demand in the Okanagan-Shuswap has pushed home sales to an eight-year high and reduced days to sell to 72 days on average compared to 94 last year at this time,” says Christopher Miller, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the Central Okanagan.

“Well-positioned and well-presented homes are continuing to sell quickly in the OMREB market.  The robust demand is keeping inventories in check, with some segments experiencing relative shortages and sellers’ market conditions, particularly the lower priced detached units,” Miller notes.

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.

Year-to-date, the majority of the buyers are families who are moving up or empty nesters and retirees who are downsizing, with 60 per cent coming from within our Board area, 15 per cent from Alberta, and 10 per cent from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island (January through May buyers survey results).

While the recreation markets in the Shuswap and North Okanagan are seeing little activity, low oil prices appear to have had little impact on residential or investment buyers from Alberta as many are purchasing homes in the Okanagan or Shuswap now in anticipation of retirement, or choosing to move here to live and continuing to work in Alberta.

Single family residential sales in the Central Okanagan were up eight per cent compared to last June while year-to-date totals improved by 13 per cent over the same six months last year.  Inventory continues to be tight for all types of housing due to high buyer demand and not enough new listings to fill the need.

In the Shuswap, single family home sales for the month improved by nine per cent compared to June 2014 and saw a 17 per cent improvement year-to-date as local buyers and Albertans moving to the area purchase residences in the $300,000 and under range, while the absence of recreation buyers from Alberta continues to stall the sale of high-end properties.

The North Okanagan experienced a 12 per cent dip in single family residential sales during June compared to last year and saw a 9 per cent decline year-to-date.  Coupled with the employment uncertainty and financial instability of oil patch workers who live in the area and work in Alberta, the softer activity may be attributed to the spike in sales last year at this time when this Zone outpaced the other markets in our Board, resulting in the current lack of product and demand.

“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®,” Miller notes.

Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke):  Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s Board area during June 2015 improved by 4.7 per cent compared to 2014 (to 1,006 units from 961) – up 4.2 per cent compared to May (from 965), and up 8.1 per cent year-to-date over 2014 (to 4,416 from 4,087).

Total residential sales for the month rose by 5.5  per cent board-wide with 924 units compared to 876 in 2014, while single family home sales were up 3.2 per cent compared to June 2014 (to 482 from 467).  The average number of days to sell a single family home in June was 72 days Board-wide, compared to 94 days at this time last year.

The 1,675 new listings taken board-wide for the month were down 1.6 per cent compared to the 1,648 listings posted in June 2014, while inventory (active listings) declined 5.3 per cent to 7,511 from 7,935 last year at this time.

Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country):  During June, overall sales of all property types in the Central Zone rose by 9.4 per cent compared to 2014 with 663 units (up from 606).  Year-to-date sales activity was up 11.8 per cent compared to the same period last year (January through June) -- to 2,921 units from 2,613 in 2014.

Total residential sales for the month improved by 11.9 per cent to 622 units compared to 556 in 2014.  The sale of 313 single family homes rose 8.3 per cent over last June (289), while apartment sales were up 18.7 per cent (to 127 from 107), and townhouse sales up 14.9 per cent (at 108 units from 94).

Average days to sell a single family home in the Central Okanagan in June was down to 59 days compared to 65 in 2014 while days to sell year-to-date averaged 64 days compared to 76 last year at this time.  The 988 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month dipped slightly compared to 980 in 2014, while total inventory was reduced by 6.3 per cent to 3,752 units from 4,002 last June.

North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby):  Overall property sales for June in the North Zone edged back 5.6 per cent to 221 units compared to 234 last year at this time.  Year-to-date sales activity dipped 1.2 per cent to 963 units compared to the first six months of 2014 (975).  Total residential sales dipped 7.9 per cent this past month to 197 units compared to 214 in 2014.  Single family home sales slipped 11.6 per cent over last June (to 107 from 121), while the sale of townhouses remained at the same level as 2014 (31 units).

Average days to sell a single family home in the North Okanagan in May was down to 68 days compared to 87 in 2014, while homes sold in 81 days on average year-to-date compared to 105 during the first six months last year.  The 443 new listings taken for the month rose 10.5 per cent over the 2014 level of 401.  Inventory for June dipped 1.6 per cent to 2,198 from 2,233 in 2014.

Shuswap Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke):  In June, sales activity in the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone improved remained at the same level as 2014 (at 122 units) while the year-to-date sales were up 6.7 per cent over the same period last year at 529 units from 496 (January through June).  Total residential unit sales for the month were the same as in June 2014 (105 units), while the sale of single family homes improved 8.8 per cent (to 62 units from 57 last year).

The average of 90 days to sell a single family home in the Shuswap was down 30 per cent in June compared to 129 in 2014, while homes have sold in 65 days on average year-to-date compared to 144 during the first six months of 2014.  The 241 new listings taken in the Zone were down 9.4 per cent compared to 266 in June 2014.  Overall inventory dipped 8.2 per cent to 1,554 from 1,692 last year at this time.

How to Organize a Smooth Move 
It's important to be organized when moving to a new home.

Moving can be stressful so planning is key.  The more organized you are, the less stress you'll endure and the more fun you’ll enjoy!

Start off by packing non-essential items like pictures and books.  This is the perfect time to ruthlessly purge your “stuff” and either donate or sell items you no longer need.  Here are a few packing tips for the rest of your things:

  • unscrew light bulbs from lamps
  • water plants the day before the move
  • take a photo of how your electronics are connected
  • lay towels between pictures before bundling them up
  • label the sides of boxes so you can read them when they’re stacked

Pack and label a box of essential items (sheets, towels, toilet paper, coffee, dish cloths, garbage bags, etc.) to see you through the first few days in your new home and get your kids to add a few stuffed toys and books.  You’ll also want to:

  • disconnect and reconnect utilities
  • submit your change of address to the post office
  • ensure your insurance policy covers you during the move
  • reserve the service elevator if you’re moving to a condo
  • transport small valuables and other personal items/documents yourself

The best way to ensure a smooth move is to write out a plan of action so make a checklist and timeline that clearly states what needs to be done.  If you follow these tips, you’ll have fond memories of the last day in your old home – just don’t forget to take one last family photo before you leave.

Your Home’s Hidden Fire Hazard 
Dryers are responsible for over 15,000 fires each year.

Few people are aware of the danger that clothes dryers can pose which is one of the reasons that dryer maintenance is so often overlooked.

Fires can occur when lint (a highly combustible material) builds up in the dryer or more commonly, in the dryer’s exhaust duct.  This blockage causes excessive heat to build-up in the dryer.

Some warning signs that your dryer vent may be blocked are excessive heat in the laundry room, a musty smell, clothes that are still damp after a cycle and large amounts of lint and debris.  If you notice any of these signs, it’s important that you take steps to clear your vent right away.

You’ll first want to unplug your dryer and then pull it out from the wall.  Next, disconnect the exhaust hose and remove the lint with a brush or vacuum.  If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself or if the vent isn’t accessible then have your dryer inspected and cleaned by a qualified service technician.

Properly maintaining your clothes dryer is more important than most people think.  If you regularly clean out your dryer’s exhaust vent, you’ll not only significantly reduce a common fire hazard but you’ll also save money as your dryer will last longer and run much more efficiently.

Handy Home Help 
The first tool you need to pick up is your smartphone!

Inspiration is often the first thing you need before tackling a home improvement project.  Here are a few smartphone apps to help you on your journey:

  1. Houzz - This home design website/app has everything you need for your next remodeling or decorating project.

  2. Eden Garden Designer - Allows you to customize your own garden and test out different designs before you start digging.

  3. Behr ColorSmart - This app makes it easy to pick the perfect shade of paint and also includes a paint calculator so you can figure out exactly how many gallons of paint you’ll need.

Smartphone apps definitely help make the entire redecorating and renovation process easier and much more fun.  From simple tasks like measuring spaces to full on renovation advice, the app stores have do-it-yourselfers covered!

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.