Fewer sales and new listings were the top stories in December in Kelowna and throughout the Okanagan Region at large last month.
There were just 453 sales across the region according to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB), a sharp 21% fall from the 571 posted in November. It was a 2% bump over December 2015 which falls in line with the above average activity seen in Kelowna throughout the past year.
OMREB president Anthony Bastiaanssen says the falling numbers at the end of 2016 represent a slow and steady decline and while the market is definitely cooler than it has been, the Okanagan housing market is likely returning to normal rather than heading for disaster. He said in his December report to the community that a more normal environment bodes well for buyers who are seeing some relief in terms of timing. If buyers find a property they like there’s no immediately pressure to submit an offer before anyone else does.
The number of new listings dropped last month throughout the Okanagan, down to 407 listings. There were 701 new listing just the previous month as sellers likely were reticent to put homes on the market during the holiday season and during the particularly cold December month throughout the area.
Prices remained constant however, the average price of a property in the Okanagan posted last month at $461,759.97. That’s just 1.3% down from November but an 11.5% jump over December 2015, again a reminder of the accelerated conditions throughout the region in 2016.
The number of average days a property stayed on the market dropped to 91 days from 97 days in November.
With few listings posted last month, inventory in the Okanagan is light which will keep that average price on a steady course. Inventory levels dropped consistently, from 2,808 in October to 2,553 in November and just 2,119 last month.
First-time buyers continue to be the predominant group of buyers in the Okanagan. This segment of the market is expected to grow with last month’s announcement from the B.C. government which is providing financial assistance to help new buyers scrape together a down payment to purchase a new home.
Bastiaanssen concluded his monthly report by advising the public that all REALTORS associated with the OMREB are up to speed on the new government program and how first-time buyers can make application.
Property Tax Update in the Okanagan
The 2017 property assessments were mailed January 3 and the 2016 activity in the Okanagan will show itself in higher property values. Some will see property values increase in the double digits.
Tracy Wall, a deputy assessor with B.C. Assessment’s Kelowna office, says a bulk of home owners in the Okanagan will likely open the envelopes from her office and see an increase as high as 30% compared to the 2015 property tax assessment. The highest of these will be in Kelowna with increases from 5% to as much as 30% where the municipality is home to 50 of the most expensive homes in the entire Okanagan on Hobson Road.
In the Central Okanagan, home owners might see an increase of 5% to 20% for an average single-family dwelling.
Anyone can check the B.C. Assessment website to review their own property tax assessments as well as those in adjacent neighbourhoods.
This is the biggest jump of residential property tax fees in the Okanagan in the last 10 years, taking the total value of 2016 assessments from $89 billion to $98 billion.
Kelowna / Central OK Dec 2016 Dec 2015 Change
Total Sales: 352 340 +5.53%
Total Sales YTD: 7,322 5,788 + 26.50%
Average Price $500,037 $442,129 +13.10%
Median Price $494,759 $434,955 +13.75%
Days on market (average) 60 88 -31.7%
Days on Market YTD: 57 75 -23.85%
New listings Dec 355 376 -5.59%