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

Bo Skapski

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

One of the first house hunting decisions most people make is whether they want a move-in-ready home or a fixer upper.  If you’re leaning towards the fixer upper route, you’ll definitely want to check out this month’s main article.
There are also some tips that’ll help you make your lawn look like a golf course as well as a few social media spring cleaning strategies.

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 Strong and Steady in April 
The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported April 2015 sales activity of all MLS® property types improved 10 per cent compared to the same month in 2014 and saw a 13 per cent improvement year-to-date over this time last year (January through April).

“Driven by confident local buyers, April home sales in the Okanagan-Shuswap were robust as the market continued at a strong and steady pace – following the rising trend in most BC markets where activity is being fuelled by pent-up demand,” says Christopher Miller, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the Central Okanagan.

“As demand grows, days on market for all property types in our Board area continues to improve, and is now at 96 days on average compared to 103 in March, and 125 days to sell last year at this time.  This news is encouraging for home owners who are looking to list and sell in a more timely fashion.”

Within OMREB’s three diverse markets – Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, and Shuswap-Revelstoke areas – sales activity and prices, and supply and demand tends to vary among property types at different times and locations, with ups and downs experienced zone-by-zone and month-by-month.

“In all markets within the Board area, well-positioned and well-presented homes are in demand and selling quickly,” Miller reports.  “Activity in the North Okanagan was brisk in April with single family residential sales improving 16 per cent compared to 2014 – bouncing back from the 30 per cent decline experienced in March compared to the same month last year,” he notes.  With inventory dipping slightly and the number of new listings similar to this time last year, the market in this zone remains fairly balanced and stable.

“During April, the Central Okanagan saw an eight per cent increase in single family residential sales year-over-year.  Some segments are firmly in seller’s market conditions with the increase in demand outpacing supply as inventory continues to decline.  New listings have been static for the past few months, and not keeping up with or meeting the current market demand,” Miller explains.

“In the Shuswap where overall inventory is still high and a buyer’s market prevails, single family home sales dipped two per cent in April compared to the same month in 2014,” he reports.  Local buyers continue to snap up homes in the lower end of the market, while purchases of recreation and retirement properties have slowed with the downturn in the Alberta economy.

“To fully understand the current residential market,” notes Miller.  “It is more important than ever to consult with a professional REALTOR® to look at trends within property types and different price points.

Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke):  Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s Board area during April 2015 improved by 10.4 per cent compared to 2014 (to 863 units from 782) – up 15.8 per cent compared to March (from 745).  Total residential sales for the month jumped by 13.0 per cent (806 units board-wide compared to 713 in 2014), while single family home sales were up 11.1 per cent compared to April 2014 (to 439 from 395).

The average number of days to sell a single family home in April was 77 days Board-wide, compared to 102 days at this time last year.  The 1,781 new listings taken board-wide for the month were down slightly (0.7 per cent) compared to the 1,793 listings posted in April 2014, while inventory (active listings) declined 8.8 per cent to 7,145 from 7,838 last year at this time.

Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country):  During April, overall sales of all property types in the Central Zone were up 8.4 per cent -- to 558 units from 515 in 2014.  Year-to-date sales activity was up 17.8 per cent compared to the same period last year January through April -- to 1,664 units from 1,413.

Total residential sales for the month improved by 11.3 per cent to 558 units compared to 515 in 2014. The sale of 292 single family homes saw an 11.5 per cent improvement over the 262 in April 2014, while townhouse sales were up 3.9 per cent (to 81 from 78), and apartment sales jumped 43.9 per cent (to 102 from 91).

Average days to sell a single family home in the Central Okanagan in March was down to 65 days compared to 74 in 2014, while days to sell year-to-date (January through April) averaged 71 days compared to 83 last year at this time.  The 1,004 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw a 1.1 per cent dip compared to 1,015 in 2014, and total inventory was reduced by 10.8 per cent to 3,627 units from 4,066.

North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby):  Overall property sales for April in the North Zone jumped 26.1 per cent to 203 units compared to 161 units sold last year at this time – a big improvement over the 139 sold in March when sales were down 2.1 per cent over 2014.  Year-to-date sales activity was up 2.3 per cent compared to last year (to 513 units from 497).  Total residential sales for the month improved by 24.3 per cent from 2014 with 203 units sold compared to 151.  Single family home sales were up by 15.9 per cent compared to April 2014 (to 102 units from 88).

Average days to sell a single family home in the North Okanagan in April was down to 81 days compared to 114 in 2014, while days to sell year-to-date (January through April) averaged 92 days compared to 123 last year at this time.  The 485 new listings taken for the month were up nominally (0.6 per cent) from the 2014 level of 484.  Inventory for April dipped to 2,066 from 2,194 in April of 2014.

Shuswap Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke):  In April, sales activity in the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone remained similar to 2014.  Overall unit sales dipped slightly (1.9 per cent) to 102 properties compared to 104, while year-to-date sales were up 1.9 per cent compared to last year at this time (to 269 units from 264).  Total residential unit sales for the month were up 2.4 per cent at 86 units compared to 84 in 2014, while the sale of single family homes was unchanged at 45 units.

Average days to sell a single family home in the Shuswap in April was down to 132 days compared to 142 in 2014, while days to sell year-to-date (January through April) averaged 131 days compared to 167 last year at this time.  The 291 new listings taken in the Zone were down slightly (one per cent) compared to 294 in April 2014.  Overall inventory dipped eight per cent to 1,466 from 1,571 last year at this time.

Whether you are selling or buying a home, a professional REALTOR® who is familiar with the area and your particular neighbourhood can assist with searching, listing, negotiating and closing.  The key to a successful sale is being realistic about the market value of your home and willing to negotiate for the best offer.

Calculating Closing Costs 
Do you have what it takes to turn a dump into a dream?

If you’ve fallen under the spell of reality TV’s quick, dramatic transformations of fixer uppers, don’t be fooled into believing that the fairy tale ending is always the case.

Buying a fixer upper is a huge decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Here are some considerations to keep in mind if you’re looking at a diamond in the rough:

  1. Pride - If you love taking pride in your work and have the necessary skills, a fixer upper might just be the way to go.

  2. Personality - An older home will give you charm and character and fixing it up means you can add your own personal style.

  3. Inspect the Unexpected - Getting a home inspection is highly recommended so you don’t end up with a structurally flawed money pit.

  4. Getting Your Foot In the Door - Buying a fixer upper can be a great way to get into an area that you may not otherwise have been able to afford.

  5. Strong Foundation - Purchasing a fixer upper with a partner or spouse can put immense pressure on a relationship.  The unexpected twists will drain time, money and energy.  Living with the mess can also be stressful.

  6. Think Ahead - You may get a great deal but you need to carefully examine whether or not it’ll be a bargain in the long run.  When renovating, you must think like the buyer who will one day purchase your home.

Buying a fixer upper can be an extremely rewarding experience but it’s also a lot of work.  If you’re thinking about going this route, it’s important to carefully examine the various pros and cons.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!

The Grass Could Always Be Greener 
Good timing and techniques are key to a great looking lawn!

A thick, healthy lawn greatly improves a home's curb appeal.  Properly taking care of your lawn is key to enjoying lush, green grass so read on for some natural lawn care tips:

  1. Zig Zag - Mowing the grass in different directions prevents wear patterns and encourages upright growth.

  2. Stay Sharp - Avoid mowing when it’s wet and remember to sharpen the blade several times during the season.

  3. No Short Cuts - Don't cut your lawn too short.  Tall grass is more stress tolerant, shades out weeds and has deeper roots to increase the intake of nutrients and water.

  4. Breathe Deeply - Aerating is the natural process of punching small holes into your lawn to loosen the ground which allows water, air and nutrients to easily penetrate the grass roots.

  5. Natural Nutrients - Unless your grass is in really bad shape, it’s best to leave your grass clippings on the lawn as they’ll provide essential nutrients.

We all want our gardens to look spectacular when we’re entertaining or relaxing outside but it’s not just all about looks.  Caring for your grass also has great environmental benefits as a lawn releases oxygen and captures dirt and dust which helps to keep you and your family healthy!

Spring Clean Your Social Media 
It’s not just your closets that could do with a good spring clean!

Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram, it’s good to get in the habit of performing regular maintenance on your social media accounts.  Here are few tips to consider:

  • change your passwords and beef up security settings
  • review your privacy settings and adjust if necessary
  • back-up your Facebook page in case your account gets hacked
  • clear the clutter by unfollowing, unliking or unfriending people you’re no longer interested in

While you’re in clean up mode, go through your smartphone and delete the apps you no longer use.  Most apps require access to your personal details so the fewer you have, the more privacy you’ll gain.

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!
Free & No Obligation...
Best of all, this exclusive service is offered to you absolutely free and with no obligation. Just take a few moments to complete the following checklist and you'll instantly be on your way to mastering the Kelowna BC real estate market!

Not meant to solicit clients already under contract.