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

Bo Skapski

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

Empty nesters face several challenges when their children leave home.  This month’s feature article discusses some points to consider for those entering this exciting life transition.

There are also some tips on how to set up a fully functional home office as well as a delicious grilled pineapple recipe that'll have your guests demanding seconds!

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...
The Okanagan Real Estate Market Report 
The Okanagan housing market remains brisk throughout July!

Residential sales in the Okanagan moderated slightly in July, compared to previous months, with sales of 1042 units posted to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®), down 17.5% from June sales but still a 20% increase over July of last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

“While fewer units sold last month as compared to June, the average price remained comparable as did the days to sell, indicating that conditions across the entire region OMREB serves, spanning Peachland to Revelstoke, are still very much favouring the seller,” says Anthony Bastiaanssen, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the central Okanagan.

“The volume of prospective buyers continues to outstrip the number of available properties, and we are unlikely to see much of a shift in market conditions until more product becomes available,” adds Bastiaanssen, noting that the number of active listings also dropped across the entire region served by OMREB, with the total representing a 22.83% decrease as compared to this time last year.

Bastiaanssen comments that every real estate market has unique conditions that can pose challenges for both buyers and sellers.  “In this market, the entire transaction process can be severely compacted, which can add stress for all concerned,” says Bastiaanssen.  “Because timeframes can be very tight, a key success factor for both buyers and sellers is working with a professional who can provide expert advice ‘on the fly’ while staying on top of everything that is going on so that critical steps don’t get missed and errors are avoided.”

So who are the buyers that are contributing to these lively market conditions?  June results from a survey of buyers shows that 56% of purchasers are from within the Okanagan, with 18% from the Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island and 12% from Alberta.

“Buyers from the Okanagan continue to be the largest purchasing group and this has remained relatively constant at 55 to 60% of total buyers since we began tracking six years ago,” says Bastiaanssen.  He adds that buyers from the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island have overtaken buyers from Alberta this year, reflecting economic conditions which have been less favourable in Alberta than in B.C.

“Given the recent focus on foreign buyers purchasing real estate elsewhere in the province, it’s worth noting that buyers from outside Canada have also remained relatively constant over the tracking period at around just under or just over 2%, year over year.”  Two-parent families with children were the largest portion of buyers at 25%, closely followed by couples without children at 24% and empty nesters or retired at 20%.

Bastiaanssen adds, “It’s interesting to note that a full 24% of buyers are either single females or single males, something that might not have been the case a few years ago.”  He adds, “It’s also encouraging to  see that, while move-up buyers consistently account for 18% to 26% of buyers over the six year period, 18% to 21% of total buyers over the same period are first-time buyers.”

What to do When the Kids Fly the Coop 
Being left at home with an empty nest can be a major adjustment.

When your children finally leave home, you'll be presented with a new found freedom and a variety of unexpected challenges.

Many empty nesters find their homes are too large once their kids move out and therefore opt to buy a smaller home in order to gain capital and reduce maintenance costs.  These days though, some parents are hedging their bets in case their kids decide to move back in.

Deciding to downsize or stay put depends on your unique situation as downsizing isn’t always the right move, pardon the pun.  It pays to closely examine your finances and motivations.  Here are a few tips if you’re thinking of downsizing:

  • be clear about your reasons as it’ll help with your new home search
  • consider a condo if you plan on traveling as there’s very little maintenance
  • plan ahead for the years when stairs will become a challenge
  • make sure your new abode has room for future grandchildren :)

It’s a huge adjustment when the kids fly the coop but it’s also a great opportunity to pursue new hobbies and think about your own needs.  If you're not quite ready to sell up and move on, consider transforming an old bedroom into your very own personal retreat.

Whether you decide to sell or not, it’s a great time to declutter your home when the kids move out so go through every room and get rid of anything you no longer need.  Whatever you do, just make sure you turn your new found freedom into a positive experience by focusing on yourself.

How to Create a Functional Home Office 
Your home office doesn’t have to be a laptop on a couch cushion.

Many people are breaking the chains of the corporate world in order to pursue careers that allow them to work from home.  Here are a few tips that’ll help you get the most out of your home office:

  1. Plan Ahead - Make sure you plan out your space in advance so there’s enough room for a desk, chair and storage and don’t forget about your technology needs.

  2. Get Creative - If you don’t have an office, consider alternatives such as a guest room, sunroom or other unused space that’ll give you a designated area to work uninterrupted.

  3. Stand Up - Consider purchasing a stand up desk as it can increase productivity and it’s much better for your posture.

  4. Lighten Up - Position lighting so there's a nice even flow and if possible, choose a room with lots of natural light.  A few plants will also add to the atmosphere.

  5. Sound Off - Hard surfaces tend to amplify sounds but carpets, rugs and fabric window treatments will help absorb excessive noise.

  6. Boundaries - Choose a private spot and don't use it as a dumping ground for non-business related items.  When you work from home, it’s critical to separate your work from home life.

A well laid out and functional office is key to working effectively from home, but without a specific game plan, you’ll waste a lot of time and money.  Planning ahead means you’ll be able to spend your time taking care of business and being productive!

Grilled Pineapple on the BBQ 
Grilled pineapple is an easy, delicious finale to a backyard BBQ!

Grilling fresh fruit caramelizes its natural sugars and this simple yet scrumptious dessert tastes even better with a side of vanilla ice cream!  Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 pineapple, cored and peeled
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter

Lightly oil the grill and preheat the BBQ to medium.  Cut the pineapple into 1 inch slices.  Combine brown sugar and cinnamon.  Brush pineapple with butter and then pat on sugar mixture.  BBQ for 5 minutes, turning occasionally.  Serve and enjoy!

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.