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

Bo Skapski

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

Multigenerational living is making a huge comeback as it provides solutions to a variety of social and financial obstacles.  This month’s feature article offers a few points to consider if you're thinking about sharing a home with extended family.

There are also some suggestions on how to create a backyard sanctuary for birds and butterflies as well as some simple ways to help your home feel more spacious.

Thanks so much for taking the time to check out this month's newsletter.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you ever 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 
Okanagan housing market remains brisk throughout June!

Residential sales in the Okanagan continue to be brisk, with sales of 1263 units posted to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) in June, up 38% from June of last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

"Housing demand continues to be robust in all three regions we serve.  While days to sell rose slightly in June to 81 days from 77 in May, consumers looking to buy are still likely to feel pressure to respond quickly and decisively to listings", says Anthony Bastiaanssen, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the central Okanagan, noting that the advice and guidance of a real estate professional can really make a difference in these challenging market conditions.

Bastiaanssen notes that the average MLS® residential price this past month was $475,091, slightly down from $486,636 in May and representing a 16 % increase over the same month last year.  In all regions served by OMREB, active listings dropped 21.37% compared to this time last year.

"We are seeing more buyers looking to regions outside the core in order to find homes in line with their budget.  Average residential pricing that is slightly down from May could be an indication of this, reflecting a higher proportion of lower-priced sales in the make-up of product sold in this time period," comments Bastiaanssen.  "Either way, we are still light on supply as compared to demand, so until this situation eases, we will see higher prices."

Population growth is a factor impacting the current Okanagan market, with most buyers coming from the Lower Mainland, and other regions of BC, followed by buyers from Alberta and other provinces.  However, an OMREB monthly survey of buyers shows that a significant majority of buyers are Okanagan residents at 58%, followed by 17% from the Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island, and 12% from Alberta.

"Of the 58% of buyers who already live in the Okanagan, there's a relative balance between first time buyers, and those who are upgrading, downsizing, or moving to another similar-type property," says Bastiaanssen.  "Comparatively, those buying to invest, at 13% of the total buyer population, are a relatively small percentage."  Bastiaanssen also notes that two parent families with children, at 28% of buyers, make up the largest single group of buyers, followed by empty nesters or retired individuals at 21% and couples without children at 18%.

In terms of housing affordability, Bastiaanssen would like to see a move towards more of a balanced market.  "Currently, we are short of listings in many neighborhoods and across most home types for the number of buyers who wish to buy.  This drives prices up, reducing affordability.  A more optimal situation is where there is more of a balance between supply and demand."

Local builders are responding to the situation with the number of housing starts on a significant rise, but the time it takes to bring new product to market means that the current situation is likely to remain for some time.

Sharing a Home with Extended Family 
Multigenerational living is a trend that continues to gain popularity!

A growing number of buyers are looking for homes that will accommodate extended family in order to reduce costs and bring them closer together.

A primary reason is that debt saddled millennials oftentimes can’t afford their own place.  This is especially true given the rising price of homes.

From a social perspective, feelings of isolation and loneliness are often alleviated when grandparents live with extended family plus it’s much easier to care for an ailing parent when you’re living under the same roof.
The shift has also been fueled by parents wishing to cut childcare costs.  Having a live-in babysitter is extremely helpful and the close relationship children build with extended family is a huge bonus.  Conflicts can however arise when relatives live in close quarters so here are a few things to consider:

  1. Know Your Needs - Think about the type of home that will best suit your situation.  Garage apartments, in-law suites and refurbished basements are all popular options.  Spacious rooms to accommodate large family gatherings are also a huge plus.

  2. Buffer Zone - Determine how much space you’re willing to share and discuss boundaries and what exactly constitutes privacy.  You don’t want to constantly be arguing about how your father-in-law hogs the bathroom every morning!

  3. Be Clear - Agree on each family member’s obligations in advance such as childcare, cooking, cleaning, etc. so that everyone’s clear from day one.  Regular house meetings will also help minimize disagreements.

Multigenerational living is definitely becoming more and more popular.  The key to successfully living under the same roof is being able to compromise, to have mutual respect for one another and to have an open line of communication.  If this can be achieved, living with extended family can be a true joy!

A Quick Chat About the Birds and the Butterflies 
Your garden will spring to life with the addition of birds and butterflies!

Creating a haven in your garden for birds and butterflies takes a little planning but it’s well worth the effort.  The following simple tips will help you turn your garden into a sanctuary:

  1. Go Natural - Avoid using pesticides as they’re harmful to both birds and butterflies.

  2. Water Works - Install a bird bath or fountain for your feathered friends to bathe and drink from.

  3. Food & Shelter - Trees and shrubs that bear fruit, nuts and berries not only provide food but also offer shelter.

  4. Bloom Boom - Butterflies are attracted to pink, orange, yellow, red, purple & blue shades while butterfly larvae feed on dill, fennel and milkweed.

  5. Sun Seekers - Butterflies like sunny locations that are sheltered from the wind.  A few flat stones will give them a place to rest while warming in the sun.

If you're looking to breathe some new life into your garden, just take a few steps to rally up some winged wildlife!  Not only will you provide a place for them to call home but you’ll also create an oasis that the whole family will enjoy.

A Complete Waste of Space 
Storage space sells so don’t forget to clean out your closets!

When selling your home, it’s often the small things that make a huge difference.  Storage can be a critical factor for buyers so here are two simple tips that will make your home seem larger:

  • Remove at least half of all items from closets and cupboards so they appear larger and get rid of anything on the floor.  Use the same hangers (no wire!) throughout.

  • Organize the remaining items so your closets and cupboards look tidier.  Make sure to neatly fold up towels and linens and use attractive bins and boxes to organize any loose items.

The points above may seem obvious but they’re often overlooked.  Remember that storage space sells and if buyers see your closets bursting at the seams, they’ll assume your home isn’t big enough for you…or for them.

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