Local real estate market bucks trend
Real estate sale were up in December through much of the South Okanagan, and predictions are the increase in sales will continue through the spring.
“Things certainly are starting to look better. We are in a slight turnaround; December was a very good month,” said Judy Klassen, president of the South Okanagan Real Estate Board and a realtor at Remax Princeton.
“It has been tough, I’ll admit that. It’s been tough to stay positive,” she said.
“Things are definitely on the upswing. Pricing is staying pretty much the same, overall when you look at it year to year.”
Brian Cutler, of Coldwell Banker in Penticton, said the market is stable, with good listings and new construction going up, pointing to six new homes going up at the Sendero Canyon development.
“Now rather than talking down, down, down, we are talking more stable, busy and a good market,” said Cutler.
Comparing Penticton statistics from December 2012 and 2013, the number of residential sales jumped from 16 to 40, along with seven commercial sales, up from none in December 2012.
The total value of sales also showed a significant increase, rising to nearly $13.8 million from $5.1 million.
“Penticton is doing really well right now. Everyone is just feeling really good,” said Cutler.
There is lots of positive talk in the office. Hopefully we are going into a really strong spring.”
“Traditionally, spring and fall are the best markets, and we are busy right now. It feels really good to have people out there looking.”
Klassen also expects the strong sales to continue into the spring.
“Interest rates are still at historical lows. We don’t expect them to be going up soon. Towards the end of this year, we might see some increases, that is what they are forecasting.” she said.
“There is things happening around the Okanagan that will encourage building.
“There are projects coming ahead that I think we will see in the spring that will assist with that.”
One of those projects is the new prison to be constructed near Oliver, which is expected to create demand for housing. Cutler said that is starting to happen already.
“I am actually taking people out this weekend that are transferring up here to do construction on the prison, so there is the tip of that iceberg as well,” said Cutler.
“Three years in the construction, so they need somewhere to live.
“A lot of people are leaning towards the Oliver area, but there are people that want to be in Penticton as well, due to family connections and whatnot.”
While number of sales are up, listings are declining. At the end of December, there were only 380 listings in Penticton, compared to 508 at the end of 2012.
Klassen said that’s a good thing.
“That does tip us to more of a balanced market. That is where we are heading, but right now it is a buyer’s market, the buyers are in charge still,” she said.
“Once listings start to go down, it means there is less inventory, that means we are selling it.”