Okanagan Real Estate News from Bo Skapski August 2014   
  Real Estate News

Bo Skapski

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

It’s important to thoroughly plan a timeline prior to moving day for your pet’s sake as well as yours!  This month’s article discusses a few ways to keep your pets happy during this potentially stressful time.

There are also some great ideas on how to easily transition your family into the “back to school” routine as well as a delicious, healthy frozen treat idea that you’re sure to love!

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 Strengthens as Summer Heats Up 
The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported July sales activity of all MLS® property types was up 30 per cent compared to the same month in 2013 – posting the strongest unit sales for July on record since 1980.

“Month-over-month, the Okanagan-Shuswap housing market continues to remain strong as we make steady strides toward recovery,” says Darcy Griffiths, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the North Okanagan.

“Renewed consumer confidence has boosted demand as buyers return to mid and higher end homes, and sellers who had given up are trying again with more success.”

The North Okanagan leads the way this month with a 56 per cent improvement in overall sales over July 2013, compared to 24 per cent in the Central Okanagan, and 23 per cent in the Shuswap.  The North Zone also saw a 56 per cent rise in single family residential sales, compared to 31 per cent in the Shuswap and 26 per cent in the Central Zone.

Due to higher inventory and a wider selection in other residential property types, significant improvement was seen in the North and Central Zones with a 95 per cent (North) and 28 per cent (Central) jump in townhouse sales, and 63 per cent (North) and 31 per cent (Central) for apartments.  Conditions in the North and Central Okanagan are now balanced and moving into a sellers’ market with more demand than supply in some areas, while the Shuswap remains in buyers’ market territory with more supply than demand.

“Total active listings in the Board area were down 11 per cent compared to July 2013.  In some segments, sales have increased more than inventory so if you are looking to sell, now is the time to do it.  The selection of entry level home choices has been significantly reduced with the drop in active listings, and some buyers are viewing properties in a higher price range to find better inventory.”

The current market conditions offer something for everyone with opportunity on both sides, Griffiths notes.  “With strong prices, high demand and low inventory, there is more opportunity for sellers who wish to list and take advantage of the window of opportunity to sell before winter sets in.  On the other hand, with the price of single family homes fairly stable in most areas, and mortgage rates remaining at historic lows, there are tremendous opportunities for buyers to get into the market before the possibility of rates rising as the economy and employment further improve going into 2015.”

Sales activity within OMREB’s three diverse market areas tends to vary among property types zone-by-zone and month-by-month with ups and downs at different times and locations.  In order to fully understand the overall picture of the current residential market in our Board area, it is important to look at prices within property types and sale price trends within different price points.

“Now more than ever, it is important to consult with a professional REALTOR® as the competition for buyers can still be a challenge for sellers if their properties are not priced well,” Griffiths warns.  “For a successful sale, you must be realistic about the market value of your home, set an attractive list price right out of the gate, and be willing to negotiate for the best offer.”

Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke):  Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s Board area during July improved by 30.1 per cent compared to 2013 -- to 930 units from 715.  Total residential sales for the month rose 32.5 per cent to 848 units board-wide compared to 640 last July.  The 1,557 new listings taken board-wide for the month were up 5.8 per cent compared to the 1,472 listings posted in July 2013, while inventory (active listings) was down 11.1 per cent over this time last year – to 7,976 from 8,976.

Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country):  During July, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 24.0 per cent -- to 584 units from 471 in 2013.  Total residential sales for the month improved 25.7 per cent to 543 units compared to 432 last year at this time.  The sale of single family homes was up 26.2 per cent over July 2013 (to 279 from 221).  The 937 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw a 2.4 per cent rise compared to 915 in 2013, and total inventory was reduced by 13.9 per cent to 3.969 units from 4,611 last July.

North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby):  Overall sales for July in the North Zone improved 55.6 per cent to 224 units compared to 144 units sold last year at this time.  Total residential sales for the month were up 56.3 per cent over last year with 200 units sold compared to 128.  Single family home sales (114 units) were up 56.2 per cent compared to July 2013 (73).  While the 369 new listings taken for the month were up 7.3 per cent from the 2013 level of 344, inventory for July saw a 9.9 per cent dip to 2,260 from 2,507 last year.

Shuswap Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke):  During July, overall unit sales in the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone improved by 23.2 per cent to 122 units compared to 99 in 2013.  Total residential unit sales for the month were up 31.3 per cent over last year at 105 units compared to 80, while the sale of single family homes rose 31.0 per cent over July 2013 (to 55 from 42).  New listings taken in the Zone were up 18.4 per cent compared to last July to 251 units from 212.  Overall inventory dipped 6.0 per cent to 1,739 from 1,849 during the same month in 2013.

Make your Move, for Pet's Sake 
Like any family member, pets feel the stress of moving.

When moving, it’s important to organize ahead of time so that your pets will be comfortable.  Here are some tips that’ll ensure a smooth move:

  1. Plan Ahead - Create a detailed checklist ahead of time so that you can avoid any last minute stress that your pets will pick up on.

  2. Pet Doc - Ask your vet for a referral if you’re moving out of town and make sure all of the shots are up to date.

  3. Dog Tags - Remember to update all your pet’s tags and microchips with your new contact information.

  4. Keep them Calm - Have someone look after your pets on moving day but if that’s not possible, keep them calm by housing them in a quiet room.

  5. Doggie Bag - Prepare a well labeled and easily accessible overnight moving kit with everything you need to keep your pets happy.

  6. Butter ‘em Up - Keep outdoor cats inside for at least a week so they can get familiar with their new home.  Putting butter on their paws will help imprint the new house as home.

Moving can make pets extra anxious so try to keep to their usual routine as much as possible before, during and after the move as this will make the transition much smoother.  Once you’re all moved in, give them lots of extra TLC!

Back to School Survival Tips 
The “back to school” days are right around the corner.

Adjusting to “back to school” mode is simple if you prepare in advance and set up a regular routine.  Here are a few tips that’ll help make the transition a little easier:

  1. Back to Bedtimes - Your little night owls will benefit from having bedtimes rolled back a couple of weeks before school starts.

  2. Get Organized - Designate a central “information station” where schedules are housed and school notes can be processed.

  3. Adjust Chores - Responsibilities may need to be adjusted depending on the type of chore and change in morning routine.

  4. Plan Ahead - Get in the habit of doing as much as you can the night before.  The morning routine will be smoother if you lay out clothes and make lunches in advance.

  5. Stay Positive - Returning to school is an emotional adjustment for children so help them stay positive and ensure you’re available as much as possible.

Back to school doesn’t have to be about forgotten lunches, unlabelled belongings and lost permission slips!  With a little organization and planning, you'll be able to enjoy the rest of the summer knowing that September will be smooth sailing.

Frozen Grape Treats 
Frozen grapes make a refreshing snack on a hot summer day!

Grapes are a healthy food choice that contain potassium, pectin and vitamin C.  The best part about frozen grapes is that they’re a cinch to prepare!  Here's all you need to do:

  • wash and pull the grapes from their stems
  • pat dry with a paper towel
  • place on a cookie sheet and freeze
  • once frozen, store in freezer bags

Frozen grape treats are just like mini popsicles only they’re much healthier!  You can even use them as “ice cubes” in your summer drinks.  Enjoy!

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