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

Bo Skapski

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

Selling your home during the holidays requires an extra special approach.  This month’s feature article discusses how to properly stage your home so it appears elegant and spacious during the holiday season.

There is also a unique project that will help you preserve your special fmaily memories as well as a tasty party appetizer that will WOW your holiday guests!

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 
Gradual downward trend of home sales continues.

October saw Okanagan residential sales slow, with 779 sales posted to the MLS® as compared to 884 the previous month, down 12% from September, yet still a 19% increase over October of last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

“A number of factors suggest a gradual downturn, including reduced sales volume, lower average prices, and longer days on market as compared to previous months,” comments Anthony Bastiaanssen, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the central Okanagan.

However, Bastiaanssen points out that continued low product inventories will likely slow progression towards a market where available housing supply matches buyer demand.

“We are watching to see the effects of shifting market conditions compounded by recent government interventions like the additional 15% property transfer tax for foreign buyers of Lower Mainland property announced by the BC government in August and recent Federal government measures including adjustments to income testing rules for borrowers requiring mortgage insurance.”

While these changes do not affect all buyers, they can have a psychological effect and potentially add to market shifts that are already occurring, notes Bastiaanssen, advising prospective buyers and sellers to consult a real estate professional, stressing the importance of working with one who is experienced with local markets.

“REALTORS are skilled in evaluating market conditions and the factors that can affect particular regions or product segments of interest,” says Bastiaanssen, cautioning buyers and sellers to look beyond general trends to inform their decision-making.

The average MLS® residential price in October was $454,426.72 across the region spanning Peachland to Revelstoke, a 4.9% decrease over September but still a 6.9% increase over the same month last year.  Average days to sell across the region was 92 in October, up from 84 in September.  New listings were 884 in October, compared to 1118 in September and 1230 in August.

Turning to buyers of Okanagan properties, Bastiaanssen notes that, year over year, most buyers are couples with or without children and empty nesters or retired who are primarily from within the Okanagan and either relocating, moving to a similar-type property, moving up or downsizing.

A September OMREB survey offers a breakdown:  those relocating to similar property types are 19.8% of buyers (up from 18.2 in August), move-up buyers are 19.6% (up from 16.2%), those downsizing are 16.8% (up from 13.4%) and first time buyers are 15.2% (down from 18.4%).  Those buying for revenue or investment purposes dropped to 12.5% of buyers, from 15.4% in August.

Buyer types include couples without children at 27.7%, two parent families with children at 21.5% and empty nesters or retired at 20.7%, followed by single males, single females and single parents with children.

The largest number of buyers are from within the Okanagan at 52.3%, followed by buyers from the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island at 21.5% and Alberta at 12.8%.  Foreign buyers are 1.6% of the buying population, down from 2.8% in August.

Ho Ho Home Staging for the Holidays 
It’s important to carefully stage your home during the holidays.

Decorating your home for the holidays is a festive tradition but it’s important that buyers are still able to imagine themselves living there.  Here are a few seasonal staging tips to keep in mind:

  1. Curb Appeal Counts - A few lights and a tasteful wreath on the front door will elegantly accent your home.  Remember to also display some photos of what you yard looks like during the summer months.

  2. First Impressions - Hallways are usually quite cramped and dark so remove any unnecessary items, ensure you have adequate lighting and keep decorations to a minimum.

  3. Deck the Halls (a little) - Too many decorations will make your home appear small and cluttered.  Also, never decorate over architectural selling features.

  4. Bows & Bells - Put away wrapping paper, tape, ribbons, etc. before showings but don’t just stuff them in your closets as buyers usually peek in cupboards to see how spacious they are.

  5. Holiday Cheer - Seasonal treats such as hot apple cider and holiday cookies will give your home a welcoming feel.  It may even encourage buyers to stick around a little longer!

Although there are fewer buyers during the holiday season, they're usually more serious plus there aren’t as many listings to compete with.  Your home will show beautifully if you use decorations to draw attention to its best features.  Just keep the decorations to a minimum so buyers aren’t overwhelmed, distracted or turned off.

Preserve the Past with a Family Time Capsule 
Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to step back in time!

It’s truly remarkable how time flies but it’s also sad how many precious family memories fade as the years go by.  There is a way to turn back the clock though!

Preserving family artifacts in a “time capsule” is a fun and easy way to relive the past!  Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Choose a Capsule - A simple box decorated by your children is a great choice as it keeps them involved.

  2. Choose Your Treasure - Add items such as photos, trinkets, school papers or stuffed toys and mark dates/descriptions so you’ll be able to easily identify them.

  3. Choose Your Spot - Once you’ve filled the capsule, seal it tightly with thick plastic and decide where and for how long you’re going to stash it.

This project is a simple, unique and effective way of preserving the past.  Don't put it off though -- the key to seeing the past in the future is to start today!  There are endless ways to make a family time capsule but the most important thing is to just have fun.

Roasted Garlic Buds and Brie 
Simple appetizers are the way to go during the busy holiday season.

It's not always easy to impress holiday guests but the delicate, mellow taste of roasted garlic paired with creamy Brie is sure to be a huge hit.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 whole garlic bulbs
  • 2 tsps olive oil
  • 1 round of Brie cheese
  • red pepper jelly
  • crackers

Slice the tops off the garlic bulbs and drizzle them with olive oil.  Then wrap the bulbs in foil, place on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.

While the garlic is baking, slice the thin rind off the top of the Brie and add to the oven for the last 15 minutes.  When it’s done, transfer the Brie and garlic bulbs to a platter and serve with crackers and red pepper jelly.  Enjoy!

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