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

Bo Skapski

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

Imagine how great it would be to get away from it all and just…relax.  Our feature article offers some advice if you’re thinking about purchasing a cottage or vacation property.

There are also some great ideas on how to brighten up a dark basement as well as an easy way to keep track of items you frequently misplace such as your keys.

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 Real Estate Market Report 
Okanagan housing market continues to break records!

Record breaking trends in residential sales continue, with sales of more than 1200 units posted to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) in May, up 35.5 per cent from the same month last year, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

“In this type of market, consumers can expect to see rising prices, short turn-arounds between when a property is listed and when it is sold, and situations where there are multiple offers on a listing, all of which make for conditions that are tricky to navigate,” says Anthony Bastiaanssen, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the central Okanagan.

OMREB statistics show the average MLS® residential price was $486,636 for May, 2016, up from $459,595 the previous month and representing a 15 per cent increase over the same month last year.  In all regions served by OMREB, the average number of days to sell a single family home dropped to 77 days, down from 92 in May 2015, while active listings dropped almost 19 per cent compared to this time last year.

“Everything becomes compressed when we have market conditions like this”, says Bastiaanssen, adding “Tight timelines make it harder to stay on top of things, manage negotiations and handle contracts and conditions, so whether you are a buyer or a seller, it pays to have the help of a professional.”

A number of factors are contributing to current market conditions, with population growth a key one for the Okanagan.  “We’ve not seen the impact that we might have expected with the drop in Albertans buying retirement and recreation properties,” comments Bastiaanssen, noting that the void is being filled by more buyers from the Lower Mainland and other regions of B.C.”  While strong job growth has been a factor elsewhere in B.C., employment growth for the Okanagan region has been less impressive, particularly in the manufacturing sector where jobs have been lost.

The high demand for housing is drawing down the supply of homes for sale, with the resulting imbalance between supply and demand driving prices up.  “While short supply is having an effect on prices, housing starts are up dramatically. Hopefully, we’ll see the situation ease as new supply comes on the market.”  Bastiaanssen notes that recent provincial government legislation to exempt new housing units under $750K from the property transfer tax is likely to provide further incentives for homebuilders to ramp up production.

OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke).  While the market trends, as noted above, are consistent across all three markets, they are most pronounced in the Central and North Zone regions.

Buying a Home Away from Home 
There’s something special about owning your own little getaway.

Owning a vacation property would be a dream come true for most of us!  Here are a few important points to consider if you’re thinking of purchasing your own little piece of paradise:

  1. Motives - Determine whether you’re looking for a spot to enjoy with family on the weekends, an investment property that you can rent out or a retirement retreat.

  2. Income - Renting out the property when you’re not using it makes great financial sense.  Location is critical for renters so make sure it’s in a high demand or up-and-coming area.

  3. Location - Figure out how far you’re prepared to travel and whether or not you need year-round access.  Once you’ve decided on a possible location, spend some time there before you commit.

  4. Numbers - Looking for a vacation home is exciting but it shouldn't be an impulse decision.  Make sure you thoroughly go over all the financials just as you would for your primary residence and don’t forget to include maintenance costs.

  5. Co-Ownership - Purchasing your new getaway with friends or family means you can share the upkeep and expenses.  Just make sure you agree on everything from day one and approach it like a business so you can spend your time relaxing instead of arguing.

  6. Fixer Uppers - Renovating a “diamond in the rough” is a great option as it allows you to add your own personal touch.  Major renovations often require permission though so make sure you’re familiar with local zoning rules and regulations.

Buying a home away from home is a huge decision so do lots of research, get your finances in order and seek professional advice before taking the plunge.  If you’re considering a few different locations or if you have questions regarding financing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How to Brighten Up a Basement on a Budget 
Your basement doesn’t have to be a dark and dreary spot anymore.

Low ceilings, limited light and general dreariness can make the basement a hard spot to hang out in.  Here are a few ways to brighten things up in this often dark and cramped looking space:

  1. Fresh Coat - Paint the walls a light shade and ceilings even lighter to give the illusion of height.

  2. Lighten Up - Use various lighting sources layered at different heights including wall sconces and lamps to brighten things up.

  3. Mirror Mirror - Place mirrors across from your basement windows in order to maximize the effect of natural light.

  4. Floored - Don’t break up the basement by choosing different flooring materials.  Pick solid, continuous flooring so that the space will appear larger.

These are just a few ways to transform your basement from dark and dreary to bright and beautiful.  All it takes are just a few simple adjustments and before you know it, your basement will become one of your most popular hangouts!

Never Lose your Keys Again 
A Bluetooth tracker can quickly & easily help you recover lost items.

You know that feeling of rushing out the door only to realize you can’t find your keys!  Instead of wasting valuable time frantically tearing the place apart, you’re now able to track them digitally.

Tile allows you to simply stick a tag on your keys or remote for example so you can keep track of their whereabouts through the Bluetooth functionality on your phone.  If your phone goes missing, you can use the tracker to ring it even if it’s on vibrate!

Tile really comes through if the missing item is out of range as it’ll automatically connect with other users who are close by.  If someone else's phone finds it, you'll be privately notified of its location.  It’s like a community-based electronic lost and found!

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.