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October 10, 2013

Kelowna, BC – The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported September 2013 sales activity of all MLS® property types have accelerated since early this year and are up 45% compared to last year at this time.

The large percentage change belies the fact that home sales last month were near their 10-year average. This activity mirrors most regions of the province in exhibiting stronger consumer demand since the beginning of the year when sales levels were at a cyclical low.

Rising home sales combined with a downward trend in active listings have improved overall housing market conditions in the Okanagan and Shuswap. However, we remain firmly in buyers’ market territory. Current conditions suggest stable to modest downward pressure on home prices. Successful home sellers typically have a sharp pencil when setting their asking price as a result of competition amongst sellers.

Mortgage interest rates have edged up, and with higher rates on the horizon, many potential home buyers are choosing to get into the market before they rise even higher. Economic growth in BC has remained relatively weak this year, with both employment growth and retails sales rising marginally over last year’s levels.

Sales activity tends to vary among property types zone-by-zone due to the divergence in OMREB’s three market areas. Unit sales may be stronger but to really understand the overall picture of the current residential market, you have to look at prices within property types and sale price trends within different price points.

While the economy is expected to expand more rapidly next year (1.7% versus 2.6%), the hangover from a relatively weak 2013 will no doubt limit housing Demand early next year.

With only a few good selling weeks to go before we see the end of 2013, if selling your home is important pricing is crucial. Serious sellers do recognize that their properties must be priced within the current market conditions in order to obtain a successful sale. It has been evident this year that properties priced well have been selling and this should continue.