Okanagan Real Estate News from Bo Skapski January 2015   
  Real Estate News

Bo Skapski

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

It’s hard to believe that 2015 is finally here!  This month’s first article highlights a few of 2015’s most exciting home and garden trends.

If you enjoy adding your own personal touch to your photos, then you’ll want to check out the review of PicMonkey.  There are also a few tips on how to take care of your hardwood floors.

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.  Here’s wishing you all the best throughout 2015!

Bo Skapski

In this issue...
2014 Okanagan‐Shuswap Housing Market Ends the Strongest in 7 Years 
The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported December 2014 sales activity of all MLS® property types rose 23 per cent and improved by 24 per cent year-to-date compared to 2013, ending the year on an upswing with consumer demand the strongest in seven years.

“While demand typically pulls back during the holiday season and edged down in other BC markets during December, Okanagan-Shuswap home sales continued to rally after an unseasonably cold weather slowdown in November and finished the year on a solid note,” says Darcy Griffiths, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the North Okanagan.

“Despite a slow start to 2014, sales began to bounce back in March and the steady upward trend accelerated into an extraordinarily busy and fast paced summer and fall.  The 7,584 residential sales for 2014 are the highest on record since 2007 when 8,702 transactions were reported.”

The selection of single family homes has been significantly reduced with declining inventory and new listings have not been fast enough to keep up with the demand, especially for those priced below $500,000.  The shortage of entry level homes has pushed buyers into purchases in the next level up, or into the condo and townhouse market where there is more value in their price range.  The price of single family homes is steady and strong in most areas with modest gains seen in some locations where supply has tightened.

“The conditions in our Board area were at the cusp between a balanced and seller’s market in December,” Griffiths reports.  “With more demand than supply for single family homes, the Central Okanagan is moving into a sellers’ market, while the North Okanagan market remains stable for both buyers and sellers, and the Shuswap continues to offer the best value and selection for buyers.”

“The Shuswap led the way in sales in December with a 33 per cent improvement over the same month in 2013, compared to 23 per cent in the Central Okanagan and 17 per cent in the North Okanagan.  The Shuswap also saw a 28 per cent rise in single family residential sales compared to the previous year, while the Central Zone was up 22 per cent, and the North Okanagan experienced an eight per cent dip.”

”The competition for buyers can still be a challenge for sellers if properties are not priced attractively from the start,” Griffiths warns.  “Being realistic about the market value of your home and willing to negotiate for the best offer is the key to a successful sale.”

Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke):  Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s Board area during December 2014 improved by 23.4 per cent compared to 2013 -- to 491 units from 398.

Total residential sales for the month improved by 26.5 per cent (420 units board-wide compared to 332 in 2013), while single family home sales were up 14.5 per cent compared to December 2013 (to 221 from 193).

Year-to-date (January through December), overall sales for 2014 improved by 23.8 per cent to 8,481 units compared to 6,853 during 2013.  Reported sales volumes for the year were up 32.8 per cent at $3.3 billion compared to $2.5 billion in 2013.

The 535 new listings taken board-wide for the month were up marginally (0.9 per cent) compared to the 530 listings posted in December 2013, while inventory (active listings) declined 13.4 per cent to 5,343 from 6,167.
Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country):  During December, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 23.4 per cent -- to 311 units from 252 in 2013.  Total residential sales for the month improved by 31.6 per cent to 275 units compared to 209 in 2013.  The sale of 141 single family homes saw a 21.6 per cent rise over the 116 in December 2013, while townhouse sales improved by 50.0 per cent and apartment sales by 24.4 per cent.

Year-to-date, overall sales improved by 21.3 per cent over 2013 (to 5,370 units from 4,426).  Single family home sales were up 15.7 per cent (to 2,502 units from 2,163), while the sale of townhouses improved by 31.9 per cent (to 814 from 617) and apartments by 33.1 per cent (to 1,029 from 773) compared to 2013.

The 346 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw a nominal increase (1.5 per cent) compared to 341 in 2013, and total inventory was reduced by 17.2 per cent to 2,656 units from 3,208.

North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby):  Overall sales for December in the North Zone improved 17.5 per cent to 114 units compared to 97 units sold last the previous year at this time.  Total residential sales for the month were up 14.3 per cent over last year with 96 units sold compared to 84. Single family home sales (48 units) dipped by 7.7 per cent compared to December 2013 (52).

Year-to-date, overall sales improved by 28.1 per cent over 2013 (to 1,992 units from 1,555).  Single family home sales were up 30.3 per cent (to 1,019 units from 782), while the sale of townhouses rose by 15.8 per cent (to 256 from 221) and apartments by 31.9 per cent (to 128 from 97) compared to previous year.

The 126 new listings taken for the month were up 10.5 per cent from the 2013 level of 114.  Inventory for December saw a 5.0 per cent decline to 1,585 from 1,668 in December of 2013.

Shuswap Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke):  During December, overall unit sales in the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone improved by 33.3 per cent over 2013 at 64 units compared to 48.  Total residential unit sales for the month were up 25.6 per cent at 49 units compared to 39 in 2013, while the sale of single family homes rose 28 per cent (to 32 units from 25).

Year-to-date, overall sales improved by 29.0 per cent over last year (to 1,113 units from 863).  Single family home sales were up 25.6 per cent compared to 2013 (to 506 units from 403), while the sale of townhouses rose 27.0 per cent (to 80 from 63) and apartments by 41.7 per cent (to 51 from 36).

The 63 new listings taken in the Zone were down 13.7 per cent compared to 73 in December 2013.  Overall inventory dipped 14.8 per cent to 1,097 from 1,287 at the end of 2013.

Home and Garden Trends for 2015 
Curious about what’s trending in homes and gardens this year?

There’s really no place like home, so it’s always interesting to discover what design trends you can incorporate in order to update your home and garden.

A mix of old and new ideas abound this year as homeowners seek to balance concerns over the environment along with the prevalence of 24/7 technology.  Here are a few popular trends:

  1. Green Thumb - Homeowners are enjoying casually styled outdoor spaces so we’ll see more native plants and food gardens and less of the larger manicured lawns.

  2. Lighten Up - Devices that automatically lighten up dark spots in drawers and cupboards are increasingly popular so you don’t need to turn on an entire bank of lights to find your keys.

  3. Glass Galore - Beautiful floor to ceiling windows and glass sliding doors are in demand as they allow the natural light to filter in while integrating indoor and outdoor spaces.

  4. Old & New - Homeowners are balancing technology by upcycling and incorporating natural materials into their decor. Rustic barn boards for instance add a warm contrast to modern lines.

  5. Talk the Talk - Some TV’s change channels or record shows by voice command but you’ll soon be able to turn on lights, adjust the heat and program your music all with your voice!

Decorating trends continue to evolve but it’s important to determine which styles resonate with you so that they’ll compliment your personality.  Whether you’re selling your house now or in the future, you’ll definitely want to “green up” your home as buyers are demanding healthy and environmentally friendly houses.

Stop Monkeying Around With Your Pics 
Edit your holiday snaps with filters and text using PicMonkey!

PicMonkey is an online drag and drop photo editing tool that’s fun and easy to use.  There’s no software to download and best of all, it doesn’t cost a cent!  Here are just a few things you can do:

  1. Edit - Images can be easily cropped, resized and sharpened or you can add professional looking filters and gradients.

  2. Touch Up - You can whiten teeth, remove blemishes and even give yourself a tan all with the click of a button.

  3. Design - It’s simple to create your own place cards or invitations.  Just pick out a background, add a border, some text, an image and voila!

  4. Collage - You can arrange several photos together to create one big picture.  Just select a layout and then edit your creation to add your own personal touch.

There are so many things you can do to add pizazz to your pics – your only limit is your imagination.  Photo editing isn't always easy but PicMonkey makes it so simple that, you guessed it, even a monkey can do it!

Your Hardwood Floor's Worst Enemies 
Hardwood floors look beautiful but they take a real beating!

It can be a hard knocks life for hardwood floors.  Scratches, dents and dulling all ruin their natural beauty over time.  Here are a few common enemies to be aware of:

  1. Liquids - Mop up spills immediately as they can warp the wood and cause it to swell.

  2. Furniture - Place felt pads underneath furniture to avoid scratches when they’re moved.

  3. Sticks & Stones - Grit acts like sandpaper so place rugs by the doors and vacuum thoroughly with a brush attachment (not a beater bar) before washing.

Prevention is key to keeping your hardwood floors beautiful.  Many cleaners will actually ruin your finish so make sure you use the correct cleaner for your floors and if you own a dog, make sure their nails are regularly trimmed.

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