In like a Lamb, Out like a Lion 2009

After beginning the year with low’s, buyer confidence in the South Okanagan Real Estate market quickly returned.  Penticton real estate continued to gain momentum monthly until December when we hit near record territory. More homes were sold last  month than in any December since 1989.

Average home prices started the year at $334,222.  As the months went by, the average home price increased to $407,361.  December 2008 showed the average sales price was $388,727.

Regarding the recession and the Okanagan, there have been some dissappointments in the local and global economies. When it comes to real estate, the immediate issue tends to be local in nature! We all need homes. Housing here is more affordable to buy than rent. Also, with low vacancy rates, rental properties are another favorable investment until retirement. Where else would you want to retire? I have quite a few more years ahead of me, and either way, I want and will be in the Beautiful Okanagan valley enjoying the sunshine, mountains and beautiful beachfront homes.

2009 had a roaring yearend for myself and other busy agents in the office. Prices correcting, interest rates, high rental rates  and first time buyers fueled the market when things were getting a bit stale.  An inactive start to the market showed the largest number of listings we had seen in years.  Large inventory resulted in competitive pricing and an unforseen buyers market.  The large inventory levels drove prices down while offering a good selection. A lot of first time homebuyers  find it less expensive to buy than it was to continue renting, so lower priced homes started to sell again first.

 A good credit score,  secure job and bit of cash or parental co-signer  you have a great chance at qualifying for what your pay in rent. Also entered the market place where the “new first time homebuyer.” The parent that helps the newly weds would rather the college student/entrepreneur pays the parents’ mortgage over than anyone else!

Late spring  prices had officially corrected enough and the market stabilized. Then, near suummer’s end, there was a little upward pressure – single family homes in the $300,000 to $450,000 price range. if  priced right, nicer homes sold very quickly.  Listings that appeared to be overpriced failed to sell.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is considering some changes to their program of insuring mortgages. This could affect first time homer buyers or those without a 25% downpayment. Certainly the impact of new Harmony Sales Tax  HST remains an unknown.

Spring is always the strongest part of the real estate market here in the Okanagan. If you are thinking of a move this year call me!

Real estate aside, I hope you all have a happy and healthy 2010. If there is anything I can do to help you don’t hesitate to call.

Dori Munday.