Phone: 250-212-2654 | cecile@cecileguilbault.com

Media Release
KELOWNA, B.C. – December 4th, 2018. November saw residential sales posted to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) drop to 459 for the Peachland to Revelstoke region, a 28% decline from the previous month and 24% fewer sales than this time last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).


“Last month, we waited to see how the market would react to the Bank of Canada’s latest interest rate hike and the BC government’s tabling of their speculation tax and while the market traditionally slows this time of year, we are also likely seeing the effects of these actions,” comments OMREB President Marv Beer.


Influencing market demand can be tricky and with two levels of government continuing to tinker independent of each other. Outcomes could quickly shift from balanced conditions that favour both buyers and sellers to a situation that could precipitate a market slide, which would benefit no one.


“While one might anticipate that a sharp shift towards a strong buyers’ market might be positive, the reality is that the BC economy is so tied to real estate values that these conditions could result in job losses, mortgage foreclosures, and the like,” contends Beer, asserting “It’s never ideal when markets take steep shifts in either direction and government can do a lot to lessen the peaks and valleys, including a focus on not just dampening demand, but also fostering development of housing that reflects the needs and wants of those wishing to buy.”


A much-needed supply of homes for sale was bolstered by a 20% increase in new listings, boosting inventory to 34% over November last year. Average price stayed consistent with the previous month and this time last year, at just 2% and 3% respectively. Average days on market, another key market indicator, rose to 91 in November as compared to 81 in October and 87 this time last year. The Shuswap/Revelstoke area bucked the trend towards more days on market recorded for the region as a whole with a 13% drop from 187 days this time last year to 163 in November.


“Even within a local real estate market, conditions can differ by region or by housing type, which is why the public is advised to consult a Realtor familiar with the area or product of interest for more in-depth market data and professional analysis and interpretation of that information,” says Beer.


Contrary to public perception, foreign and out-of-province individuals continue to be a small percentage of those purchasing homes in the region at 1-3% of the buying population. Buyers from Alberta continue to hold at about 11-12% and those from elsewhere in Canada at less than 1%. The largest buying group by far continues to be those who already live in the area at around 55-60% any given month.


OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke). For detailed statistics, by zone, visit www.omreb.com.

For more information, please contact:
Board-wide statistical information: Email media@omreb.com
Province-wide statistical information:
Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist, or Brendon Ogmundson, Economist cmuir@bcrea.bc.ca (604) 742-2780 / bogmundson@bcrea.ca (604) 742-2796


OMREB is a member-governed not-for-profit association representing more than 1300 REALTORS® and 89 real estate offices within the southern interior region of British Columbia (Peachland to Revelstoke). The Board is dedicated to providing leadership and support to its members in their pursuit of professional excellence.
DISCLAIMER: Monthly Sales statistics are based on the sales reported by real estate offices on or before the last day of the month. Sales not reported by month end and collapsed sales are reflected in the subsequent month’s statistics.


All OMREB listings are published in the MLS® Real Estate Review and MLS® Commercial Review magazines available at all real estate offices and various locations in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, the Shuswap and Revelstoke areas. For comprehensive Board-wide statistical information, please visit our local public site: www.omreb.com

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KELOWNA, B.C. – November 1, 2018. Residential sales posted to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) for the Peachland to Revelstoke region rose to 639 in October, 9% over September, but 13% fewer than this time last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).


“Interestingly, more homes sold in less time than September but average price was 5% less than September and 4% less than this time last year,” comments OMREB President Marv Beer, cautioning not to take too much stock in the price drop just yet, as the mix of properties sold in the month may be a factor.


New listings continued to climb along with the inventory of available housing, with 14% more listings than this time last year contributing to an inventory of homes that is now 33% higher than October of 2017. The average number of days it took to sell a home dipped slightly to 81 from September’s 90 days and last October’s 83 days.


“Growing housing supply is a strong indicator of continued movement towards a balanced market where sellers and buyers are favoured more equally,” says Beer, noting that more supply offers benefits for prospective buyers, those looking to rent and even those considering selling.


“While a market where there are fewer homes for sale to a larger pool of buyers, a description that has applied to our market for several years, can be attractive for those considering listing, it can also pose challenges for those same sellers when they look to find new homes at prices they can afford.”


Even within a local real estate market, conditions can differ within sub-regions or housing types. Buyers and sellers are encouraged to consult a local real estate professional to ensure they have comprehensive data and professional analysis and interpretation of that data to inform their decsion making.


“It’ll be even more interesting to see what next month brings, as the Bank of Canada followed through with another interest rate hike in October and the BC government tabled their speculation tax,” comments Beer, noting adjustments made which, if the tax is voted in, will mean Canadians residing within and outside of BC will pay a lower rate than previously outlined.


Looking at buyers of homes in the region, it’s worth noting that foreign and out of province buyers continue to be a small percentage of the buying population.


“It’s surprising how many people are convinced the speculation tax is needed in Kelowna and West Kelowna to curb foreign and out of province buyers. While this may be the case elsewhere, I can tell you that for the eight years OMREB has been tracking buyer data, foreign buyers have remained 1-3% of our buying population, buyers from Alberta at 11-12% and buyers from elsewhere in Canada less than 1%."


The largest buyer group, by far, continues to be those who already live here at about 55-60% any given month, followed by those who live elsewhere in BC. Also likely different than what people generally assume, first-time buyers are a strong buying group that vies for first place with buyers looking to move up and those relocating to a similar property type. Two-parent families with children generally head the buyer group, followed by couples without children and empty nesters or retired.


OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke). For detailed statistics, by zone, visit www.omreb.com.


For more information, please contact:


Board-wide statistical information: Email media@omreb.com


Province-wide statistical information:

Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist, or Brendon Ogmundson, Economist

cmuir@bcrea.bc.ca (604) 742-2780 / bogmundson@bcrea.ca (604) 742-2796 


OMREB is a member-governed not-for-profit association representing more than 1300 REALTORS® and 89 real estate offices within the southern interior region of British Columbia (Peachland to Revelstoke). The Board is dedicated to providing leadership and support to its members in their pursuit of

professional excellence.


DISCLAIMER: Monthly Sales statistics are based on the sales reported by real estate offices on or before the last day of the month. Sales not reported by month end and collapsed sales are reflected in the subsequent month’s statistics.


All OMREB listings are published in the MLS® Real Estate Review and MLS® Commercial Review magazines available at all real estate offices and various locations in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, the Shuswap and Revelstoke areas. For comprehensive Board-wide statistical information, please visit our local public site: www.omreb.com

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"You have reason to be a little bit nervous because there's certainly a tide of anti-development sentiment that's building in the market today," Ferreira told about 800 members of the real estate and development community at UDI presentation.


Shifting political winds could exacerbate an already-softening Metro Vancouver housing market buffeted by recent government policies and higher borrowing costs, said an industry analyst at the Urban Development Institute’s annual real estate industry outlook on Tuesday.


Michael Ferreira, principal of Urban Analytics, warned that a number of Metro Vancouver municipalities could take on an anti-development slant after the Oct. 20 election.


“You have reason to be a little bit nervous because there’s certainly a tide of anti-development sentiment that’s building in the market today,” Ferreira told about 800 members of the real estate and development community at the UDI presentation.


“I think a lot of the candidates are looking to take advantage of that and are catering to populist rhetoric.”


Across Metro Vancouver, housing affordability and density are key issues for many municipalities, with some candidates and parties critical of densification and some calling for a “pause” on development, which, argued Ferreira, would be misguided.


“Just when we are getting to the point of seeing more supply come on the market and potentially put downward pressure on pricing, that’s when some of the candidates are suggesting they’re going to cut back.”


Other candidates and parties have also expressed commitments to create more affordable and market rental housing as a solution to the housing crisis.


Ferreira said an infusion of rental housing would have an immediate impact on price. But he warned that campaign promises of a rent freeze or tying rent increases to a unit, instead of a tenant, could make some projects in the pipeline “unviable.”


He was also critical of the NDP’s provincial task force which recommends tying annual increases to inflation.


“It may win political points in the short term,” he said of the NDP’s plan, but will result in lower rental supply and make developers less inclined to build.


Ferreira said there was a sense of frustration among rental developers. Many projects were bogged down by a slow approval process, with one developer estimating it’ll take five years to complete a rental project, while some projects get scrapped or put on hold because the city demanded such unfavourable terms the developer couldn’t make the project work, he said.


“They feel like the city is just not interested in facilitating new rental development even though we have sub-one per cent vacancy rate throughout the region.”


Ferreira, who crunches data on new condos, highlighted some bright spots for the industry.


The pre-sale market remains healthy, with large projects such as Gilmore Place in Burnaby, Linea in Surrey and smaller projects along the Cambie Corridor and at UBC reporting strong demand.


These projects were done by local, experienced developers who know their market and priced their products right, Ferreira said, noting that Onni priced units at The Gilmore’s first tower at just under $1,000 per square foot, less than the $1,100 per square foot price of a nearby project that had launched earlier.


The re-sale market, however, is a different story.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported 1,595 sales in September, a 43 per cent drop compared to the same month last year. Sales-to-listings ratio have also dropped, particularly for condos and townhouses, which are now in a balanced market. So far, this hasn’t translated to price drops.


“We haven’t seen a lot of actual declines in prices,” Ferreira said. “But we’ve seen some softening in the form of incentives being offered to buyers” such as decorating allowances worth between $30,000 to $60,000, reduced deposit requirements, or in the case of one Langley condo project, an offer to pay the buyer’s first year’s mortgage.


“If we continue to see softening in demand and increase in supply, we are going to see a drop in buyer urgency and likely start to see more softening in prices,” said Ferreira.


“But I don’t anticipate a huge drop in prices, not a massive correction that we’ve seen in the past.”


 Cheryl Chan Updated: October 17, 2018


https://vancouversun.com/business/real-estate/urban-development-institute-hosts-annual-event-on-real-estate-industry-outlook





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Tax ranges from 0.5% on secondary homes left vacant by B.C. residents, to 2% on foreign-owned properties

CBC News · Posted: Oct 16, 2018 1:10 PM PT | Last Updated: October 16


B.C.'s finance minister has introduced legislation to move ahead with a controversial speculation tax on vacant or underutilized properties.


The bill ends months of speculation about how the province planned to use the new levy to help deal with runaway housing prices in some B.C. communities, outlining a range of tax rates from 0.5 to two per cent and a number of exemptions.


If the legislation is passed, the new tax will apply to all properties in designated regions of B.C. These include most parts of Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District (excluding the Gulf Islands), along with Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo and Lantzville.


Homeowners who live at their properties — or rent them out — will receive an exemption by filing an annual declaration form.


    Higher taxes no solution to Vancouver's real estate crunch, says study



For the remaining properties, a tax rate of 0.5 per cent of the assessed value will apply for 2018.


In 2019 and subsequent years, B.C. residents with vacant or underutilized properties will continue to pay that rate, while Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are not B.C. residents will start paying one per cent.

Foreign homeowners will pay more


Foreign homeowners or "satellite families" who make 50 per cent of their income outside B.C. will pay two per cent on all properties, unless they rent them out.


The goal is to prevent housing speculation and help turn vacant properties into rentals, said Carole James, B.C.'s finance minister.


    B.C. municipalities ask for power to opt out of speculation tax, finance minister says no


"As a government, we have a responsibility to act, to make sure that people can afford a home in the communities where they live and work," she said. "The speculation and vacancy tax is a critical piece if we want to moderate our overheated housing market."


Some opposed mayors in regions where the tax is set to apply had called on the finance minister to allow an opt-out clause, but James declined.


"When you face a major provincial crisis, it is the responsibility of the provincial government to act, not to let municipalities pick and choose about whether they want to address affordable housing," James said.

'NDP arrogance and hypocrisy'


However, the opposition Liberals say the tax punishes people in B.C. who want to have a retirement home and it will do little to improve housing affordability.


    Opinion

    Layers of B.C. taxes and fees add up to 26% 'tariff' on new home costs


"This is the height of NDP arrogance and hypocrisy," said Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson.


"Our goal is to defeat this bill because it is a phony tax. It accomplishes nothing except to grab revenue for the NDP."


Green Leader Andrew Weaver, who has been critical of the tax in the past, said he's still reviewing the fine print to determine if his concerns have been addressed, and any changes that may be necessary.


"I still have concerns that Canadians are not being treated equally and that there is an insufficient role for local governments in determining what happens in their communities," Weaver said in a statement.

Exemptions


The legislation also includes a number of exemptions for what the province calls special circumstances, including major home renovations and divorces.


Properties that are under development or renovation are also exempt — something that will keep the tax from discouraging more housing to come online, James said.


It's estimated that more than 99 per cent of people in B.C. won't pay the tax, James said.


https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/speculation-tax-tabled-by-bc-government

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KELOWNA, B.C. – October 2, 2018. Despite slower sales activity of 585 residential sales in September compared to 709 the previous month and 740 last year, average price across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland inched up 5% over August and 8% over last September, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).


“We’re seeing a shift across the region with all signs, save average price, pointing to a market continuing to transition from a sellers’ market to one that would favour buyers and sellers more equally,” comments OMREB President Marv Beer.


“While average price, at $534,943, crept past both the previous month’s pricing and this time last year, houses are sitting on the market for longer so it’s likely only a matter of time before we start to see downward pressure on price,” says Beer. Beer was quick to note that average price can swing from month to month, depending on the mix of higher and lower-priced homes that sell in that timeframe.


Other indicators of a normalizing market include an increase in the time it takes to sell homes, with 90 average days on market for September, compared to 78 last month and 78 last year. Rising housing inventory is another signal, now 29% higher than a year ago with more supply slated to come on-stream within the next year or two.


“More supply means buyers have more choice and, as a result, tend to become more discerning. This can ultimately can affect price, however real estate markets are never quite that simple, as other factors are also at play,” says Beer.


Already checked by higher interest rates, the market may react to predictions of more hikes, now more likely with the US Federal Reserve’s most recent rate increase and the Bank of Canada’s pledge that rates will rise in October. Government policy changes, such the proposed speculation tax slated to be voted on in October can also have a dampening effect. Conversely, the market is bolstered by strong provincial economic fundamentals such as low unemployment and demographics that include millennials ready to purchase their first home.


Looking at buyers of homes in the region, the latest results from home sales closing in August reveals a strong showing of first-time buyers at 16%, although two-parent families with children topped the list at 30% of buyers. Those buying for revenue or investment purposes were 14%. Typical for the region, the largest buyer group, at 56%, comprised those who already live in the area, with the next largest groups being those from the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island at 21% and those from Alberta at 12%. Foreign buyers were just 1%.


Beer notes that buyer profiles for the region have remained consistent over the eight years of data collection. “While the BC government would have us believe that speculation by foreign buyers and those from other provinces is making homes here less affordable, the reality is that at 84%, the vast majority of buyers in this area are BC residents, and that figure changes only slightly year over year” says Beer adding “Clearly, the solution to greater affordability lies elsewhere.


OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke). For detailed statistics, by zone, visit www.omreb.com.


Media Release


OMREB is a member-governed not-for-profit association representing more than 1300 REALTORS® and 89 real estate offices within the southern interior region of British Columbia (Peachland to Revelstoke). The Board is dedicated to providing leadership and support to its members in their pursuit of professional excellence.


DISCLAIMER: Monthly Sales statistics are based on the sales reported by real estate offices on or before the last day of the month. Sales not reported by month end and collapsed sales are reflected in the subsequent month’s statistics.


All OMREB listings are published in the MLS® Real Estate Review and MLS® Commercial Review magazines available at all real estate offices and various locations in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, the Shuswap and Revelstoke areas. For comprehensive Board-wide statistical information, please visit our local public site: www.omreb.com

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Persistent Cooling Trend For Okanagan Housing Market


KELOWNA, B.C. – September 5, 2018. A cooling trend in home sales continues across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland, with 709 sales posted to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) in August, a 5% drop from the previous month, yet 20% fewer sales than this time last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).


“We are now six months into a cooling trend, with a curb in demand arising from natural market shifts, but intensified by government intervention in the form of tougher mortgage rules, higher interest rates and the threat of a possible speculation tax,” says OMREB President Marv Beer.


Of note is an increase in average days on market, now at 78, up from 65 days the previous month and 69 last August. “While we are not seeing it as yet, downward pressure on price typically tends to occur when days on market lengthen,” says Beer, noting that average price in August was $511,916, an 8% drop from the previous month, but 5% higher than this time last year.


Moderating demand is helping ease a chronic shortage of housing supply, with active listings contributing to an inventory of available homes that is now 27% over this time last year. A pullback in demand coupled with an increase in the number of homes for sale is moving the region’s housing market towards balanced conditions, which typically means more selection for those in the market to buy, less likelihood of competing offers and, if it continues, downward pricing adjustments.


“Unfortunately, government intervention has also had the effect of making homes less affordable, as the new mortgage rules and higher interest rates mean that the buyer’s dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to,” comments Beer, noting that the effect is heightened in certain parts of the region where housing affordability was already challenged.


Keeping in mind the millennial generation, a group that comprises many of today’s first-home buyers, Beer suggests that housing affordability could be better resolved through measures that help deliver the type of housing that buyers want and need to market more quickly and efficiently rather than penalizing those hoping to buy.


Pointing to a provincial forecast by the British Columbia Real Estate Association that projects a 21% decline in residential sales this year, Beer suggests that further checks on demand may not be required. “Clearly, this is not the environment to introduce a so-called speculation tax that would have minimal effect on actual real estate speculators and, instead, punish long-time homeowners who are primarily BC residents,” contends Beer, noting that such a tax could have wide-spread unintended consequences. With the government vote on the speculation tax pending this fall, members of the public are urged to register concerns about the proposed tax with government at scrapthespeculationtax.ca.


OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke). For detailed statistics, by zone, visit www.omreb.com.


OMREB is a member-governed not-for-profit association representing more than 1300 REALTORS® and 89 real estate offices within the southern interior region of British Columbia (Peachland to Revelstoke). The Board is dedicated to providing leadership and support to its members in their pursuit of professional excellence.


DISCLAIMER: Monthly Sales statistics are based on the sales reported by real estate offices on or before the last day of the month. Sales not reported by month end and collapsed sales are reflected in the subsequent month’s statistics.


All OMREB listings are published in the MLS® Real Estate Review and MLS® Commercial Review magazines available at all real estate offices and various locations in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, the Shuswap and Revelstoke areas. For comprehensive Board-wide statistical information, please visit our local public site: www.omreb.com

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MEDIA RELEASE


KELOWNA, B.C. – August 2nd, 2018. Residential sales across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland moderated slightly in July, with 742 sales posted to the Multiple Listing Service (MSL®), down 7% from June, yet 23% lower than this time last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).


“I think we can officially say that we are moving towards balanced market territory, although we are still at a point where the market tends to favor sellers more than buyers, yet not as much as in previous years,” comments OMREB President Marv Beer, noting five months of consistently lower sales volumes than last year, coupled with more new listings contributing to a growing inventory of available homes that is 26% higher than this time last year.


Despite indicators suggesting the region’s market is transitioning, July’s average price held at $559,235, 2% higher than June and 11% over this time last year. Days on market, an indicator of how long it takes to sell a home, was consistent with this time last year, at 65 days versus 63.


“It takes time for those active in the market to respond to changing market conditions, so sales activity tends to fall before prices adjust. Likewise, days on market is also a factor to watch, with longer days on market associated with downward pressure on pricing,” says Beer.


While a pull back from the highs of the last few years is expected, current home buyer activity is also being dampened by government intervention. The Bank of Canada raised its interest rate July 11th for the second time this year and is expected to cautiously hike interest rates over time. More restrictive mortgage requirements are also having an impact, as is the specter of a provincial so-called speculation tax.


Turning to buyers of homes in the region, it’s worthwhile noting some commonly-held beliefs about who is actually driving buyer activity. The assumption is that foreign buyers and those from other provinces are significant, a misconception somewhat fostered by the provincial government’s ads about the speculation tax. The reality is that for eight years running (the timeframe OMREB has been collecting buyer data) foreign buyers comprise less than 3% of the buying group at any given time and those from other provinces are less than 15%, of which Albertans are around 10%, depending on the year.


The largest buyer group, at consistently 50 – 60%, comprises folks who already live here, with those from the lower Mainland/Vancouver Island comprising the second largest buyer group at about 20%.


“The make-up of buyers of homes in this region, softening market conditions and continued federal government intervention all would suggest that further interference in the market via a speculation tax that would impact long-term BC homeowners far more than speculators, out of province, or foreign buyers is not needed and makes no sense whatsoever,” contends Beer, noting that two-thirds of the homes targeted by the tax are, in fact, owned by BC residents.


OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke). For detailed statistics, by zone, visit www.omreb.com.


DISCLAIMER: Monthly Sales statistics are based on the sales reported by real estate offices on or before the last day of the month. Sales not reported by month end and collapsed sales are reflected in the subsequent month’s statistics.


All OMREB listings are published in the MLS® Real Estate Review and MLS® Commercial Review magazines available at all real estate offices and various locations in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, the Shuswap and Revelstoke areas. For comprehensive Board-wide statistical information, please visit our local public site: www.omreb.com

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MEDIA RELEASE


KELOWNA, B.C. – July 4, 2018. June residential sales across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland continued a downward trend with 799 sales, a slight drop from May but 22% lower than this time last year, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).


“This is the fourth consecutive month where sales volumes are substantially down from the same period last year,” comments OMREB President Marv Beer.


After the highs of the last few years, a shift towards a more balanced market is a natural and welcome progression, although the current trend may be somewhat amplified by government intervention in the form of new mortgage rules, interest rate hikes and the specter of a speculation tax that could impact Kelowna and West Kelowna.


“In a weird kind of irony, government measures to increase housing affordability are actually having the opposite effect, not just curbing housing demand, but affecting household purchasing power as well,” says Beer. “People aren’t able to qualify for the same amount of mortgage as before, and this, coupled with higher interest rates, means they can afford less, which is likely to be particularly impactful on first-time buyers and those at the lower end of the price-range.”


Federal government intervention layered onto a softening market is already having the effect of dampening demand, so there doesn’t appear to be a need for a further check on demand via the provincial government’s proposed speculation tax.


Beer contends that there are other ways government can enhance housing affordability instead of the misnamed and ill-conceived speculation tax, which wouldn’t actually address speculation and would carry the risk of many unforeseen consequences. For example, focusing on improving housing supply would aid in addressing a chronic housing shortage plaguing not just the Okanagan but most of BC. Members of the public wishing to express concerns about the proposed speculation tax to the BC government can do so via the scrapthespeculationtax.ca website.


Supply has struggled to keep up with the Okanagan’s rising population over the past several years, contributing to housing shortages, higher prices and reduced affordability. While June saw a 22% increase in the inventory of homes for sale over this time last year, inventory continues to be relatively low by historical comparison, with new listings down 5% from May and just 4% over this time last year. However, new housing units continue to come on stream, with 33 new home developments slated for the Kelowna region alone, including 18 condo, 8 townhouse and 7 single family developments.


“New housing construction should ease some of the pressure on both prospective buyers and renters in the next couple of years, offering much needed supply which, in turn, is likely to contribute to a flattening of price growth. Some developments, aided by local government incentives and zoning changes, are specifically intended for rental, which should improve current vacancy rates,” says Beer.Average prices have yet to shift, with June’s average at $547,485, up slightly over May and 7% over this time last year.


“Price is typically one of the last indicators to shift, as sellers adjust to changing conditions associated with a normalizing market,” says Beer.


OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke).


For detailed statistics specific to each of the three regions served by OMREB, visit www.omreb.com.

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I thought I would share some information on suspended slabs with you.


We are starting to see quite a few suspended slab garages in the Okanagan - it's great way to add extra space in the basement underneath. As we all know, the concrete floor in a garage usually cracks during the curing process and usually these small cracks are innocuous and don't cause any harm. However, with a suspended slab these small cracks can let water through to the room underneath. Car comes in with snow on it, it melts, runs down through the crack to the space below.


Depending on how the room below is finished there maybe damage hidden in the ceiling from years of water slowly dripping through. It will take either time or a lot of water all at once before it appears on the basement side of things and this can be hard to detect during our dry season.

 

Something to keep in mind when you are showing property or listing a house with a suspended slab. If you see lots of cracks in the garage floor some further investigation is probably worthwhile to ensure there is no damage to the structure underneath and a plan to have the cracks sealed would be prudent. If you know someone who is building a house with this feature - recommend they have the garage floor sealed from the get go and let them know that if they see any cracks they should be addressed before any water has a chance to ingress

 

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MEDIA RELEASE

 

 

KELOWNA, B.C. – May 7, 2018. Residential sales for the region of Peachland to Revelstoke tallied 746, 19% more than March, but 9% down from this time last year, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

“Despite the typical spring upswing, this is the second month in a row where sales are fewer than last year’s tally, suggesting the market is continuing to normalize” comments OMREB President Marv Beer, cautioning that more data points are needed to constitute an actual trend.

 

“Markets are cyclical and what we hope for are smaller peaks and valleys, but it’s difficult to know if that’s what we will get, given the volume of tinkering occurring in the form of Federal mortgage tightening rules and higher interest rates and now a proposed Provincial speculation tax,” says Beer.

 

New listings were 1519 compared to March’s 1393 and last year’s 1378.

 

“This is more new listings than we’ve seen for some time, likely resulting from two possible sources: more housing supply coming on-stream as developers complete construction and a factor may also be fears related to the government’s proposed speculation tax, which, for some, could add a substantial and unexpected tax burden,” Beer comments.

 

Latest Buyer Survey results show three types of buyers vying for the largest group: first timers; those upgrading; and those relocating/moving to a similar-type property, all at 19% of total buyers respectively. Two-parent families with children topped the buyer list at 28%, with childless couples close on the heels at 27%. Buyers from within the OMREB board region remained the majority at 55%, followed by those from the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island at 19% and other areas of BC at 11%. Foreign buyers were 3%.

 

April’s average price was $517,149 consistent with March, but up 8% from this time last year. Days on market averaged 65, fewer than both March’s 78 and last year’s 75.

 

A shifting market, complicated by so many external influences, can make for tricky conditions. Buyers and sellers alike can benefit from engaging a local real estate professional who has the knowledge and skill to analyze and accurately interpret market conditions and resulting implications.

 

OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke).

For detailed statistics specific to each of the three regions served by OMREB, visit www.omreb.com.

 

For more information, please contact:

Board-wide statistical information: Email

media@omreb.com

Province-wide statistical information:

Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist, or

Brendon Ogmundson, Economist

cmuir@bcrea.bc.ca (604) 742-2780 /

bogmundson@bcrea.ca (604) 742-2796

 

OMREB is a member-governed not-for-profit association representing more than 1300 REALTORS® and 88 real estate offices within the southern interior region of British Columbia (Peachland to Revelstoke).

The Board is dedicated to providing leadership and support to its members in their pursuit of professional excellence.

 

DISCLAIMER: Monthly Sales statistics are based on the sales reported by real estate offices on or before the last day of the month. Sales not reported by month end and collapsed sales are reflected in the subsequent month’s statistics.

 

All OMREB listings are published in the MLS® Real Estate Review and MLS® Commercial Review magazines available at all real estate offices and various locations in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, the Shuswap and Revelstoke areas. For comprehensive Board-wide statistical information, please visit our local public site:

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Media Release 

 

KELOWNA, B.C. – April 6, 2018. Residential sales across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland rose to 628 in March, 25% over the previous month, yet down 24% from this time last year, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).


“While the market was busier than February, as is the norm this time of year, sales were substantially down from last March. At this point, it’s difficult to know whether or not this is significant or if it is simply an anomaly.” says OMREB President Tanis Read.


Average price was $521,192, up just 2% over February and 10% higher than this time last year. Days on market, or the time it takes to sell a home, averaged 78 fewer in March than February’s 89, but consistent with last year’s 79 days. New listings, at 1393, were 53% higher than last month, but just 3% more than last March’s tally of 1353.


“If we were to focus solely on sales volume, we might anticipate movement towards a balanced market, although current housing inventory is nowhere near what it would need to be to meet the definition of such a market. However, average price, days on market and new listings are all generally consistent with this time last year, so it’s anybody’s guess as to whether or not March’s stats are the beginning of a trend,” says Read.


Read notes a number of external factors that could impact the market, not the least of which is the recently announced BC government’s housing-related taxes, including the controversial speculation tax, which isn’t really a tax on speculators, but rather a tax on assets.


“If implemented, the BC government’s housing-related taxes, coupled with recent federal mortgage tightening rules and interest rate hikes, could be the tipping point that takes the market from a gradual downturn to a potentially steep decline,” Read cautions.


“When you tinker with the market, you can’t predict or control what will happen, nor can you put a halt to it. At the end of the day, these proposed housing-related taxes are bad for B.C and, while recently announced housing-related taxes are aimed at enhancing affordability, they may have the opposite effect, harming the very people the government is trying to protect and support.”


A recent British Columbia Real Estate Association Market Intelligence Report notes that ‘even a relatively minor 10% negative shock to home prices would extinguish $90 billion of (BC homeowners’) wealth, or $70,000 of the average homeowner’s equity.’ Falling home prices could severely impact the BC economy, with declining household wealth leading to reduced consumer spending and job loss. A drop in housing demand would curtail home construction, slowing expansion of housing supply and leading to more critical shortages in future.


“Ultimately, more housing-related taxes translates into reduced housing affordability on two fronts. First, a slower economy reaps fewer jobs which means that, even if houses are available at lower prices,fewer folks will have the means to buy them. Second, a lack of housing supply means competition for available units for the folks who can still afford to buy, which drives up prices.”


Read contends that increased housing affordability, a concept that OMREB and its members strongly support, is more likely to be achieved through other means such as addressing factors that have chronically prevented supply from keeping up with demand. Read notes that the focus over the past several years, both federally and provincially, has solely been on the demand side, with little to no attention paid to the supply side of the equation.


With so many factors impacting the market, conditions are tricky and buyers and sellers are advised to engage a local real estate professional whose job it is to stay abreast of conditions and who has the knowledge to analyze and accurately interpret market implications. 

 

OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke).


For detailed statistics specific to each of the three regions served by OMREB, visit www.omreb.com.

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 MEDIA RELEASE

 

 

KELOWNA, B.C. – March 6, 2018. Across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland, residential sales tallied 503 in February, up 12% over January, yet consistent with this time last year, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

 

“The market typically picks up this time of year and this year is no exception despite recent new federal mortgage tightening rules and an interest rate increase,” comments OMREB President Tanis Read.

 

Read notes February’s key indicators are largely consistent with last year. “Average price, at $509,545 is just 6% over this time last year and within 3% of January’s pricing. Days on market (how long it takes to sell a home) averaged 89 - fewer than January’s 99, but consistent with last year’s 86 days. New listings, at 912, were up 16% over January, but comparable to last year’s 904 as was available inventory at 2333 active listings.

 

“While indicators suggest we are in a typical point in the market cycle, we have yet to see impacts arising from the BC Government’s recent announcement of an impending array of residential property-related taxes,” says Read, adding “While we appreciate that the intent of these new taxes is to cool the BC housing market and curb perceived speculation, we are concerned about the unintended consequences that are likely to arise.”

 

Read points to the legions of non BC residents, primarily Albertans, who own properties in Kelowna and West Kelowna who are now going to be potentially subject to a new speculation tax. “This would force out-of-province owners to either contribute dramatically more to BC government coffers or rent out their homes to avoid the levy - effectively taking away the owner’s ability to use their own home.”

 

“This is also liable to have a detrimental effect on the Okanagan economy, not because of the intended changes to real estate prices, but due to the unintended loss of revenues generated by those homeowners who take advantage of local services such as car dealers, wineries, restaurants, gas stations, etc. and the resulting potential job losses,” says Read.

 

“In the long run, I can’t see how curbing sales of recreational, student or non-primary housing options to people from provinces next door and beyond will address the Lower Mainland’s issues with housing affordability,” says Read, noting that, at this point, the speculation tax only affects properties in Kelowna and West Kelowna, and not elsewhere in the region served by OMREB.

 

Read suggests that, more to the point, is the need to address a generalized lack of supply of available housing. “We have been lagging in housing supply for months and, when supply is limited, prices rise, housing becomes less affordable and fewer people have the opportunity to own their own home.”

 

Read contends that the solution lies less in curbing demand through taxation and other measures and more in working with local governments to address factors that prevent the housing supply from keeping up with demand and affordability such as lengthy and uncertain approval timelines for building permits.

 

Particularly in light of the volume of recent regulatory change affecting the housing market, both buyers and sellers are advised to engage a local real estate professional whose job it is to stay abreast of conditions and who has the knowledge to analyze and accurately interpret the market implications.

 

OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke).

For detailed statistics specific to each of the three regions served by OMREB, visit www.omreb.com.

 

OMREB is a member-governed not-for-profit association representing almost 1300 REALTORS® and 89 real estate offices within the southern interior region of British Columbia (Peachland to Revelstoke). The Board is dedicated to providing leadership and support to its members in their pursuit of professional excellence.


DISCLAIMER: Monthly Sales statistics are based on the sales reported by real estate offices on or before the last day of the month. Sales not reported by month end and collapsed sales are reflected in the subsequent month’s statistics.


All OMREB listings are published in the MLS® Real Estate Review and MLS® Commercial Review magazines available at all real estate offices and various locations in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, the Shuswap and Revelstoke areas. For comprehensive Board-wide statistical information, please visit our local public site: www.omreb.com

 

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ADDITIONAL PROPERTY TAX FOR FOREIGN ENTITIES AND TAXABLE TRUSTEES

1.            Has gone from 15% to 20%, effective today.

2.            Contracts written before Feb. 20, 2018 with a closing on or before May, 2018 are exempted, but only for Capital Regional District, Fraser Valley Regional District, Regional District of Central Okanagan or Nanaimo Regional District. Note this exemption does not apply in Greater Vancouver.

3.            Transfers pursuant to court order, order nisi of foreclosure, separation agreement, transfer from personal rep of deceased’s estate to beneficiary or transfer to surviving joint tenant are also exempt, provided the triggering event occurred before Feb. 20, 2018.

4.            This tax applies to the Capital Regional District, Fraser Valley Regional District, Regional District of Central Okanagan, Nanaimo Regional District and Greater Vancouver. The areas for each region can be found at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/property-taxes/property-transfer-tax/understand/additional-property-transfer-tax/bc-areas

5.            Only on residential property; if property is farmland or commercial with a residential component, tax applies on the residential component.

6.            Exemption for BC Provincial Nominee Program still applies.

 

SPECULATION TAX

1.            Tax is meant to target foreign and domestic homeowners who do not pay income tax in B.C.

2.            Tax will apply to same areas as foreign buyers tax apart from Okanagan, where it only applies to Kelowna and West Kelowna.

3.            Starts in 2018 at $5.00 per $1,000.00 of assessed value, goes up to $20 in 2019.

4.            Not sure how this will affect vacation homes, nor when this tax is payable.

 

PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX

1.            Tax rises from 3% to 5% on value of homes over $3,000,000.00.

2.            Remains at 1% on first $200,000.00, 2% on amounts between $200,000.00 and $2,000,000; 3% on amounts between $2,000,000.00 and $3,000,000.00 and 5% on amounts over $3,000,000.00.

 

PRE-SALE CONDO ASSIGNMENTS

1.            Developers will collect and report information about pre-sale condo purchases; nothing else in budget about pre-sale contracts or assignments that we have seen.

 

B.C. HOME OWNER SECOND MORTGAGES

1.    This program is now cancelled .

 

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MEDIA RELEASE


For Immediate Release

 

Residential Market Delivers Solid Start for 2018

 

KELOWNA, B.C. – February 5, 2018. Residential sales across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland totaled 449 in January, consistent with sales in December and a 27% increase over this time last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

 

“January showed a substantial jump in both sales volume and new listings over this time last year, with increases of 27% and 45% respectively,” says OMREB President Tanis Read. Read notes that, despite the increase in new listings, average price, at $523,402, rose 19% over January of last year while staying consistent with December at a less than 1% uptick.

 

“It’s not really surprising that the volume of new listings hasn’t had an effect on pricing. We still need more inventory to match current demand and there would be a lag between an increase in inventory and potential price moderations,” Read comments. Read adds that it will bear watching over the next couple of months as to whether the spike in new listings continues and any resulting impacts a possible increase in supply has on price.

 

Another market indicator, days on market, showed an average of 99 in January, consistent with this time last year, but up from December’s 79. “December’s average days on market was a bit of an anomaly, as averages have tended to be in the 90 plus days for the winter months over the past several years,” notes Read.

 

Alongside product supply versus demand, other factors affecting the local real estate market include interest rate hikes and the new mortgage stress test which came into effect January 2018.

 

“The Bank of Canada interest rate hike on January 17, the forecast of more increases to come this year and the new stress test are all expected to have an impact,” says Read, although these factors will likely be offset by continued strong economic performance predicted for BC, albeit somewhat moderated from the last several years.

 

“It’s anyone’s guess at this point as to how much of an impact interest rates and the stress test will have as compared to other factors that can buoy the market, like a robust economy,” comments Read.

 

Local market characteristics continually shift with the factors that impact, so it pays to engage a real estate professional whose job it is to stay abreast of conditions and who has the knowledge to analyze and accurately interpret the implications.

 

Taking a look at buyers of homes in the region, the results of which lag the market statistics by one month, we find a strong showing from first time buyers at 21% of the buyer population, followed by move-up buyers at 18% and a spike in those buying for revenue/investment purposes at 18%, up from 13% the previous month.

In terms of family make-up, couples without children led the way at 25%, followed by two-parent families with children at 24% and empty nesters/retired at 18%.

 

As has been the case since OMREB started tracking this data back in 2010, the significant majority of buyers are from within the region OMREB serves at 64%. The next largest buyer group hails from the lower Mainland/Vancouver Island area at 19%, followed by buyers from other BC regions at 8% and just 4% from Alberta.

 

OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap- Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke).

For detailed statistics specific to each of the three regions served by OMREB, visit www.omreb.com.

 

For more information, please contact:

Board-wide statistical information:

Tanis Read, OMREB President tanisread@gmail.com, (250) 215-2121

Province-wide statistical information:

Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist, or Brendon Ogmundson, Economist cmuir@bcrea.bc.ca (604) 742-2780 / bogmundson@bcrea.ca (604) 742-2796

 

OMREB is a member-governed not-for-profit association representing more than 1200 REALTORS® and 92 real estate offices within the southern interior region of British Columbia (Peachland to Revelstoke). The Board is dedicated to providing leadership and support to its members in their pursuit of professional excellence.

 

DISCLAIMER: Monthly Sales statistics are based on the sales reported by real estate offices on or before the last day of the month. Sales not reported by month end and collapsed sales are reflected in the subsequent month’s statistics.

 

All OMREB listings are published in the MLS® Real Estate Review and MLS® Commercial Review magazines available at all real estate offices and various locations in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, the Shuswap and Revelstoke areas. For comprehensive Board-wide statistical information, please visit our local public site: www.omreb.com

 

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Bank of Canada Held Their Rate

 

As you know, your variable rate mortgage, line of credit and/or student loans are all based on the Prime Rate and here is your personal update from me on the recent Bank of Canada announcement on changes to their Overnight Rate which in most cases impacts your Prime Rate.

At 10:00 am EST, Wednesday December 6, 2017, the Bank of Canada maintained their overnight rate which means no change to your interest rate. I know you may be feeling the impact of the rate changes earlier in 2017, but you can feel at ease that your rate will stay the same for now.

As we discussed previously this year, there have been several changes to the mortgage regulations this fall, which affect your purchasing power and flexibility in your mortgage product. These changes will impact your plans for borrowing funds in the future – whether it is refinancing to maximize the low interest rates and equity in your home, purchasing rental properties or moving up into a bigger home? You can of course always opt to stay with your current mortgage product and just renew, however this gives your lender the upper hand and doesn’t allow you the ability to shop around! Ultimately this new guideline will negatively affect your ability to access the equity in your home! Equity that you have built up, by paying down your mortgage and consistently making your payments. If you have goals of accessing this cash, then please reach out to me now!

Call me now for a complimentary consultation to review your current financial situation and let’s start planning for your future now. These legislation changes don’t come into effect until January 1, 2018, so let’s get started on a plan RIGHT NOW!

To continue with the Bank of Canada news, here is an excerpt of the announcement and what they had to say about their decision today:

“Recent Canadian data are in line with October’s outlook, which was for growth to moderate while remaining above potential in the second half of 2017. Employment growth has been very strong and wages have shown some improvement, supporting robust consumer spending in the third quarter. Business investment continued to contribute to growth after a strong first half, and public infrastructure spending is becoming more evident in the data. Following exceptionally strong growth earlier in 2017, exports declined by more than was expected in the third quarter. However, the latest trade data support the MPR projection that export growth will resume as foreign demand strengthens. Housing has continued to moderate, as expected.

Inflation has been slightly higher than anticipated and will continue to be boosted in the short term by temporary factors, particularly gasoline prices. Measures of core inflation have edged up in recent months, reflecting the continued absorption of economic slack. Revisions to past quarterly national accounts have resulted in a higher level of GDP. However, this is unlikely to have significant implications for the output gap because the revisions also imply a higher level of potential output. Meanwhile, despite rising employment and participation rates, other indicators point to ongoing¬ – albeit diminishing – slack in the labour market.”

Based on this outlook, the Bank estimates that the economy’s growth is still moderate and they want to operate with a conservative approach to monetary policy. They do indicate that higher interest rates will be required over time, but they want to remain cautious in their approach when increase rates.

Fixed rates haven’t really changed at all since the last announcement, and are around 3.09% to 3.39% for a five-year fixed term.

Currently variable rate products are still lower than current fixed term rates, however if concern regarding impending rate increases is going to affect your monthly budget, locking in now might be a good option. Call me to book a complimentary consultation and let’s discuss your current financial situation. I’ll be in touch again for the next announcement on January 17, 2018.

I wonder if I can ask a favour; this time of year can be really tough for many that are not as financially fortunate as us. No matter their situation; whether it is mountains of debt that they can’t get a handle on, low income or even unemployed… I can help. If you hear a colleague, friend or family member talk about going through a financially tough time would you mind letting them know I might be able to help. I can assist home owners by helping them access their equity to get them back on their financial feet and relieve some stress. My expertise will help with budgeting, credit counselling or debt consolidation. If you would be so kind as to pass along my contact information on to anyone who might need a helping hand – I’ll provide a pro bono consultation to provide some great options on how I can help!

 

Compliments of

 

April Dunn

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Okanagan Residential SalesTypical for Fall Time


KELOWNA ,B.C.–November 3,2017.Residential sales posted to theMultiple Listing Service (MLS®) for the Okanagan region of Peachland to Revelstoke totaled 736 in October, comparable to last month’s 740 and just 6% 
lower than this time last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

 

“Not unusual for this time of year, October sales and new listing volumes were both slightly lower than previous months, with both indicators in the range of what we were seeing this time last year,” comments OMREB President
Tanis Read, adding " The average number of days on market rose over previous months, also typical as we head into the wintermonths."


New listings were 898 in October, compared to 1118 in September, whereas the average number of days it took to sell a home in October was 83  as compared to 78 in September and 92 this time last year.


Read notes that average price, at $526,418, was a bit of an irregularity, likely due to the mix of properties sold as compared to the previous month. October’s average price was 6% higher than September’s and up 16% over this time last year.

 

“While a lack of available homes for sale continues to be a problem and a major contributor to pricing, the good news
, at least for some parts of the region we serve, is the number of new, multi-family residences that are closing in on
completion. This, coupled, with a surge in housing starts, could mean good news in terms of availability and affordability, ”comments Read.

 

More housing supply offers benefits not only for prospective buyers but those looking to rent and even those considering selling. While a seller’s market, where there are fewer homes for sale to a larger pool of buyers, can be
attractive for those considering listing, it can also pose challenges for those same sellers when they look to find a new home at a price they can afford.


“Even within a local real estate market, conditions can differ within particular sub-regions or the various types of housing product. " says Read, encouraging buyers and sellers to consult a local real estate professional to ensure they have comprehensive data to inform their decision-making.

 

Turning to buyers of homes in the region, results compiled from monthly OMREB buyer surveys year to date (January through September,2017), indicate that first time buyers accounted for 20% of purchasers, with move-up buyers at 17%. Those moving within the region were 56%, followed by those from the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island at 18% and Alberta at 11%. The 84-month average has first time buyers accounting for 20% of buyers and move-up buyers at 22%. Those moving within the region were 57%, followed by buyers from Alberta at 14% and Lower Mainland/Vancouver at 12%.

 

“It’s encouraging that first time buyers continue to be a strong force within the region as they estimulate the chain of housing ownership ”, says Read, noting that move-up buyers tend to rely on first time buyers to purchase their  existing homes


OMREB serves three diverse markets within the region: the Central Okanagan Zone (Peachland to Lake Country), the North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby) and the Shuswap -Revelstoke Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke).

 

DISCLAIMER: Monthly Sales statistics are based on the sales reported by real estate offices on or before the last day of the month. Sales not reported by month end and collapsed sales are reflected in the subsequent month’s
statistics.


All OMREB listings are published in the MLS® Real Estate Review and MLS® Commercial Review magazines
available at all real estate offices and various locations in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, the Shuswap and
Revelstoke areas. For comprehensive Board-wide statistical information, please visit our local public site: www.omreb.com
.

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The leaves are falling, but the sky is not! We know this year has had a lot of changes in the lending landscape, so let’s chat about what this means for you!


As you know, your variable rate mortgage, line of credit and/or student loans are all based on the Prime Rate and here is your personal update from me on the recent Bank of Canada announcement on changes to their Overnight Rate which in most cases impacts your Prime Rate.

At 10:00 am EST, Wednesday October 25, 2017, the Bank of Canada maintained their overnight rate which means no change to your interest rate. I know you may be feeling the impact of the rate changes earlier in 2017, but you can feel at ease that your rate will stay the same for now.

In the last few weeks there have been additional changes in the mortgage legislation and qualifying guidelines all in the hope of maintaining stability in the real estate market as well as ensuring home owners and those with significant debt can handle future interest rate increases. These changes will impact your plans for borrowing funds in the future – whether it is refinancing to maximize the low interest rates and equity in your home, purchasing rental properties or moving up into a bigger home? Call me now for a complimentary consultation to review your current financial situation and let’s start planning now. These legislation changes don’t come into effect until January 1, 2018, so let’s make sure we get you prepared now and ensure the changes won’t impede your future borrowing plans.

To continue with the Bank of Canada news, here is an excerpt of the announcement and what they had to say about their decision on Wednesday:

“Canada’s economic growth in the second quarter was stronger than expected, and was more broad-based across regions and sectors. Growth is expected to moderate to a more sustainable pace in the second half of 2017 and remain close to potential over the next two years, with real GDP expanding at 3.1 per cent in 2017, 2.1 per cent in 2018 and 1.5 per cent in 2019. Exports and business investment are both expected to continue to make a solid contribution to GDP growth. However, projected export growth is slightly slower than before, in part because of a stronger Canadian dollar than assumed in July. Housing and consumption are forecast to slow in light of policy changes affecting housing markets and higher interest rates. Because of high debt levels, household spending is likely more sensitive to interest rates than in the past.

The Bank estimates that the economy is operating close to its potential. However, wage and other data indicate that there is still slack in the labour market. This suggests that there could be room for more economic growth than the Bank is projecting without inflation rising materially above target. Governing Council will be cautious in making future adjustments to the policy rate. In particular, the Bank will be guided by incoming data to assess the sensitivity of the economy to interest rates, the evolution of economic capacity, and the dynamics of both wage growth and inflation.”

Based on this outlook, the Bank estimates that the economy is operating close to its full potential. But they have indicated that they will be cautious in making future increases in order to determine the impact of the adjustments earlier this year. Remember, taking advantage of these low rates is a great way to pay down your mortgage faster!

Fixed rates haven’t really changed at all since the last announcement, and are around 3.09% to 3.39% for a five-year fixed term.

Currently variable rate products are still lower than current fixed term rates, however if concern regarding impending rate increases is going to affect your monthly budget, locking in now might be a good option. Call me to book a complimentary consultation and let’s discuss your current financial situation. I’ll be in touch again for the next announcement on December 6, 2017.

I wonder if I can ask a favour, going with my theme of “Let the sun set and the leaves fall along with Canadian consumer debt with our help” if you hear a friend or family member talk about going through a financially tough time – maybe I can help with some budgeting, credit counselling and debt consolidation options for them. In either of these cases, would you mind passing my contact information on to them – this is very much appreciated.

 

Thanks!

April

 

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Update #4

 

RESTRICTIONS WILL BE PLACED ON CERTAIN LENDING ARRANGEMENTS THAT ARE DESIGNED, OR APPEAR DESIGNED TO AVOID LTV LIMITS

 

Mortgage lenders (excluding credit unions and private lenders) are prohibited from arranging with another lender: a mortgage, or a combination of a mortgage and other lending products, in any form that circumvents the institution’s maximum LTV ratio or other limits in its residential mortgage underwriting policy, or any requirements established by law. This is often referred to as “bundling” or “bundle partnership”.

What does this mean?


For example: a consumer applies for 80% LTV mortgage and the lender can only approve 65%. The lender then partners with a second lender for the additional 15%. The original lender then “bundles” the 15% LTV mortgage with the original 65% mortgage to form the complete 80% LTV loan. This is no longer permitted as per OSFI.

OSFI has implemented 3 new mortgage rule changes starting January 1, 2018

 

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Update #3

 

LENDERS WILL BE REQUIRED TO ENHANCE THEIR LOAN TO VALUE (LTV) MEASUREMENT AND LIMITS TO ENSURE RISK RESPONSIVENESS

 

Mortgage lenders (excluding credit unions and private lenders) must establish and adhere to appropriate LTV ratio limits that are reflective of risk and updated as housing markets and the economic environment evolve. We are awaiting more details on this policy from lenders. As we have new information, we will update this document.

What does this mean?


OSFI directs lenders (excluding credit unions and private lenders) to have internal risk management protocols in higher priced markets (sometimes called “hot real estate markets” like Toronto and Vancouver). This is a continuation of a policy already in place. Many mortgage lenders have been following the principles of the policy for the last 10 to 12 months.

OSFI has implemented 3 new mortgage rule changes starting January 1, 2018


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Western Investor’s annual take on the top five towns to place your real estate investments in Western Canada over the next year.



No. 1: Kelowna

The largest city – 127,800 residents – between Metro Vancouver and Calgary, Kelowna is the dominant trading center for the Okanagan Valley, B.C.’s third most populous region. Together with neighboring Vernon, West Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country, the greater Kelowna area has a population of 256,216, up 7.4 per cent from 2011. It also has a blossoming high-tech sector, which has rocketed in the past few years into a $1.3 billion industry that involves more than 200 companies.

With one of the most temperate climates in Canada and a fertile land base, a rich array of ski resorts, vineyards within city limits and lakeside attractions, Kelowna is a major tourism destination, as well as a beacon for new residents – many from the Vancouver area – drawn by its recreational amenities and relatively affordable housing.

Here is a clue to what is happening: more new homes were started in Kelowna this year than in any area outside of the Lower Mainland, including Greater Victoria, which has three times the population of Kelowna.

We carry a full report on the Kelowna residential and commercial real estate opportunities in the B section of this paper.

Investment play: Land assembly of detached lots near downtown, courtesy of a January zoning change that encourages higher density. Also retail property, particularly for developers of badly needed new retail space in the downtown zone.

 

No. 2: Surrey

Vancouver’s booming suburb to the southwest won’t be a suburb for much longer. Within the next decade Surrey will overtake Vancouver as B.C.’s largest city. Around 10,000 new residents move to Surrey each year, and the entire South Fraser region – which includes Langley and Abbotsford – is projected to absorb 70 per cent of the entire region’s population growth over the next 25 years.

A key point: Surrey has a higher percentage of people aged 10 to 24 than the provincial average. Surrey is also home to one in four Metro Vancouverites under the age of 19.

South Surrey-White Rock is separated by farmland from the rest of the city, and is a focus for new single-family homes and townhouse construction. Newton is the heart of Surrey’s South Asian community, while Guildford and Fleetwood are more traditionally suburban in character. Cloverdale to the west has a rural flavor on the Langley border. And then there is Surrey’s new downtown, Surrey City Centre, where the 52-storey 3 Civic Plaza hotel and condo tower completes this year, and an eight-building medical-technology office hub is under construction, along with multi-family condominium projects.

Investment play: Multi-family rental apartments and rental condominiums. Based on recent sales, the average cost per door for a Surrey rental apartment building is $171,000, at least $50,000 below the Greater Vancouver average, yet the rental vacancy rate and rental rates are similar.

 

No. 3: Saskatoon

Saskatchewan’s commercial capital entered 2017 plagued by a prolonged period of historically low commodity prices and slumping real estate. But that has changed fairly quickly. A Saskatoon economic report published by the Real Estate Investment Network said Saskatchewan’s largest city has managed to rebound from a market downturn thanks to a recovering energy market and burgeoning real estate activity.

The oil recession caused a slight, 1 per cent decrease in Saskatoon’s GDP during 2016, according to Royal Bank (RBC).

However, Saskatoon’s GDP is expected to increase 1.8 per cent in 2017 and 2.3 per cent in 2018, RBC forecasts.

The fundamentals of the city’s economy are strong. Saskatoon had Canada’s third-fastest growing population of any metropolitan center, after Edmonton and Calgary, growing 12.5 per cent between 2011 and 2016. And as the headquarters of uranium giant Cameco and PotashCorp, the city is well positioned to feel the tailwinds of the next commodity super cycle.

Investment play: Retail investments near the River Landing District, where a $300 million development is underway along the South Saskatchewan River.

 

No. 4: Calgary

Calgary continues to feel the pain of low oil prices, but 2018 will be a turnaround year for real estate in Alberta’s biggest and most-watched city.

“There is little question that Alberta’s economy has rounded the corner and the worst recession in three decades is now squarely in the rear-view mirror,” the Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB) noted in its Alberta Economic Outlook, released in August. ATB is forecasting real GDP growth of 3.2 per cent this year, followed by a still-healthy expansion of 2.1 per cent in 2018.

Altus Group reports that total commercial real estate investments in Calgary in the second half of 2017 increased 24 per cent from a year earlier to more than $1 billion.

Calgary’s industrial vacancy rate is projected to fall from the current 7 per cent to 6.1 per cent by 2018, fueled by demand for distribution space. The retail vacancy rate dropped to 2.9 per cent in the third quarter, with most of the recovery in suburban malls.

And the multi-family market is also tracking up. Bob Dhillon, founder and CEO of Mainstreet Equity Corp., Calgary’s biggest landlord who specializes in mid-level rentals, said rents appeared to have hit bottom.

“Every indicator is showing that things have bottomed and bounced off the bottom,” Dhillon said.

Investment play: Multi-family rentals and well-placed retail. In the first six months of this year, 16 of the 22 apartment buildings that sold went for an average of $114,600 per door, the lowest price of any major Canadian city.

In retail, look for opportunities in the southwest suburbs, where the retail vacancy rate is 1.7 per cent and no new space was added this year. Southwest lease rates are in a landlord-friendly range of $20 to $55 per square foot.

 

No. 5: Lethbridge

Confidence in Lethbridge’s commercial real estate market is strong, with the city recently ranked by Avison Young as Alberta’s strongest municipal economy for 2017. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ latest Top Entrepreneurial Cities Report placed Lethbridge 18th out of 121 centers.

More than 92,000 residents call Lethbridge home and the city has seen population growth of 10.8 per cent since 2011. Expansion projects are drawing new residents to the area. The City of Lethbridge has invested in the development of the Crossings, 60 acres of mixed-use land in West Lethbridge hosting large retail footprints. The city recently spent more than $41 million on construction of Phase 1 of the Crossings Leisure Complex. Phase 2 is set to be completed by 2019 and has a budget of nearly $110 million. Building permits across the city totaled nearly $1 billion over the last five years, and industrial and agricultural land in North Lethbridge is seeing a sizable piece of the action.

Investment play: While Lethbridge’s office and retail markets are currently the city’s best-performing sectors, industrial real estate may take the lead in 2018. Industrial vacancy rates rose slightly to 6.2 per cent in 2016, but the rate declined to 4.4 per cent this year and should remain relatively tight in 2018. North Lethbridge appears the best bet for both commercial and industrial investments.

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