Housing sales for March a mixed story

Sales upswing from February; down from March 2017

The real estate sales report for March offered a bit of a mixed blessing.

Residential sales across the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board region, from Revelstoke to Peachland, rose to 628 in March, a 25 per cent over the previous month but down 24 per cent from the same month last year.

“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,” said OMREB president Tanis Read.

The average price was $521,192, up just two per cent over February and 10 per cent 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 1,393, were 53 per cent higher than last month, but just three per cent more than last March’s tally of 1,353.

“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,” said Read.

Read notes a number of external factors that could impact the market, such as the recently announced provincial government’s housing-related taxes, including the controversial speculation tax.

OMREB contends the speculation tax isn’t really a tax on speculators, but rather a tax on assets.

Related: Dip in housing sales predicted for 2018

“If implemented, the B.C. 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 cautioned.

“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 per cent negative shock to home prices would extinguish $90 billion of B.C. homeowners’ wealth, or $70,000 of the average homeowner’s equity.

The report claimed falling home prices could severely impact the provincial 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 said.

She 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, she added.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Salmon Arm seeks grant to study alternative water sources

Review of options encouraged in case of catastrophic incident involving Shuswap Lake

Let the spirit of a Shuswap Christmas shine

Celebrate the season with activities for families and children of all ages

Update: Natalie Wilkie earns silver medal at Para Nordic World Cup

Salmon Arm Paralympian adds a medal to her fourth place finish in Finland

Securities commission probe includes company planning to grow cannabis in Shuswap

Liht Cannabis Corp states it’s doing internal investigation, welcomes BC Securities Commission probe

Family saved but pets lost in Sunnybrae house fire

Firefighters from Tappen-Sunnybrae and South Shuswap fire departments extinguish blaze

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

‘Laverne & Shirley’ star, ‘Big’ director Penny Marshall dies

Marshall died of complications from diabetes on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, at her Hollywood Hills home. She was 75.

B.C. Court of Appeal to rule in terror case that centres on RCMP conduct

B.C.’s appeal court is scheduled to release a decision today on a couple whose guilty verdict over plotting to blow up the provincial legislature was thrown out by a lower court judge.

Trump backs off on demand for $5 billion to build a border wall

Congress and President Donald Trump continue to bicker over his demand that lawmakers fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Canadian detained in China, not clear if related to two other detentions

Reports suggest the person is not a diplomat or entrepreneur doing business in China.

Trudeau sees 2019 election as choice between positive Liberals, divisive Tories

Trudeau is drawing much the same battle lines that propelled the Liberals to a come-from-behind victory in 2015

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla, Highway 3

Make sure to equip winter tires if travelling

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

UPDATE: Coquihalla reopens between Hope and Merritt

The highway is closed in the northbound lane

Most Read