According to data from the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB), residential sales were up 21.7 per cent during the month of March, compared to the same period last year. Condo sales alone were up 46.1 per cent year-over-year, while sales of detached properties rose 11.6 per cent.
“The Okanagan-Shuswap market continued to show strong growth in March with sales being driven by confident local buyers rather than recreation and retirement buyers from Alberta where the economy has taken a downturn,” says OMREB president Christopher Miller.
The Bank of Canada’s decision to lower the overnight rate to three-quarters of a per cent in January also encouraged buyers enough to enter the market – many for the first time. A good portion of those buyers opted for condo units, the average price of which rose 8.2 per cent to $246,443.
The average price of a detached home, meanwhile, rose 9.3 per cent to $443,900. Compared to single-family properties in nearby Vancouver, the average price for which rose to more than $1 million this year, the Okanagan region represents a significant discount for buyers who want to upsize to a detached property.
“An increase in demand has outpaced supply in some segments that have edged firmly into seller’s market conditions,” Miller says. “While selection has been reduced with the ongoing decline in inventory, 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 average amount of time a property spent on the market was just 103 days, compared to 102 days during the year-ago period. The number of new listings last month, however, was up 28.2 per cent from March 2014.
A moderately priced condo market, paired with historically low interest rates, has driven one west-coast market’s more than 20 per cent increase in March sales.