Housing market in flux

Housing market in flux

A bouncing ball is the best way to describe the average selling price of a single-family home in Kelowna.

In July, the average was a record-high $782,400.

There was jubilation.

The record solidified the city’s status as a desirable place to live, work, play and invest.

And people who owned their own homes simply felt richer.

Then in August, shock, as the average plunged $95,000 to $687,400.

Homeowners felt instantly poorer and the explanations piled up.

Apparently, in July the average was pushed skyward by a preponderance of sales of higher-end homes in the $1-million range.

Plus, the sales volume slowdown of the past five months had finally caught up with price and pushed the average down in August.

Well, just-released figures for September show the average price jumped $33,424 to $720,824.

That’s not a full recovery, but it is positive movement.

Yet, it’s still confounding as sales continue soft, impacted by a mix of tougher mortgage rules, higher interest rates, a correction in the integral Vancouver market and consumers adopting a wait-and-see stance.

“Houses are sitting on the market for longer, so it’s likely only a matter of time before we start to see (more) downward pressure on price,” said Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board president Marv Beer.

Beer pointed average price can swing from month to month depending on the mix of higher and lower-priced homes that sell over a 30-day period.

In September, 364 homes of all kinds (single-family, townhouses and condominiums) changed hands in Kelowna, a 19 per cent drop from the 448 sales in the same month last year.

It now take an average of 90 days to sell a home, up from 78 days last year.

There’s also more homes for sale at any given time.

“More supply means buyers have more choice and, as a result, tend to become fore discerning,” said Beer.

“This can ultimately affect price (lower). However, real estate markets are never quite that simple, as other factors are also at play.”

Even with all this volatility, the local housing market is still healthy.

It’s just that it is shifting from a hot sellers’ market where homes were snapped up quickly, sometimes for more than asking price because of multiple offers.

The market is now considered balanced.

Such a situation favours buyers and sellers more equally.

The third and final market type is buyers’ where those looking for homes hold all the cards and can get incredible deals in circumstances of little demand and falling prices.

It was a mixed bag for some of Kelowna’s other housing types last month when it comes to average selling price.

The average for a townhouse was $510,426, up from $504,600 in August.

And the average condo changed hands for $346,102, down from $354,700 in August.

The sparks will fly Tuesday when Miller Welding rolls its equipment trailer onto the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College for demonstrations and tout careers in welding.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Miller representatives will be on hand to show off welding equipment and techniques and plasma cutting machines.

Those interested in a career in welding can drop by, speak with Miller reps and college instructors and take a tour of the college’s welding shops.

Miller is one of the largest suppliers of welding equipment in North America.

It has also partnered with the college to provide the latest equipment for college shops so students can train with the most high-tech machinery and tools.

“Technology is always changing, so this agreement is great news for our welding students and apprentices, and for our instructors,” said dean of trades Steve Moores.

“It mean every six to 12 months, some equipment will be swapped out of the shops and our students will get access to the latest, most high-tech equipment from Miller.”

The Kelowna campus has one of the most advanced and sustainable welding ships in the province after undergoing an extensive renovation and refresh in 2016.

The Penticton campus has a new welding shop and the new trades training centre at the Vernon campus has been designed with welding programs in mind.

He’s not even 35 yet and Nick Hazzi is selling a lot of real estate in Kelowna.

For that early success, Real Estate Professional magazine has recognized Hazzi of Vantage West Realty as one of 50 up-and-coming professionals on its list of Young Guns.

“These agents, all 35 or younger, know experience cannot be bought, but by immersing themselves in their work, they have accelerated their development at such an extraordinary clip that they now have as much to offer clients as the agents who have been perfecting their trade for decades,” said Real Estate Professional reporter Clay Jarvis.

“These 50 energetic, tech-savvy and hungry agents have done more than simply make a name for themselves. Each one is on a the path to stardom.”

What does the future of Kelowna hold?

That will be the big question at Our Future City, a half-day real estate development conference being held at Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts on Friday from 1 to 5 p.m.

The $100 admission includes the four-hour program plus social and networking mixer starting at 5 p.m. with drinks and appetizers.

The event is put on by the Okanagan chapter of the Urban Development Institute.

Generally, Kelowna is growing up rather than sprawling out with in-fill development in existing urban and suburban areas and highrises going up in the downtown, South Pandosy and long the lakeshore.

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