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Home sales down, but prices up in Kelowna

Here's a mystifying juxtaposition that only seems to happen in Kelowna real estate.

The market has started to cool with fewer sales, yet house prices continue to rise, in fact, setting a new all-time record in May.

The latest figures from the 1,600-member Association of Interior Realtors shows sales in the region in May totalled 1,482, down from April's 1,719.

Yet, over the same period the benchmark selling price of a single-family home in the Central Okanagan hit a record $901,600, a jump from $880,000.

</who>The market has slowed, but not softened, according to Association of Interior Realtors president Kim Heizmann, a realtor with Century 21 in Vernon.

"While the market may be slowing down from an all-time record, it does not mean the market has softened," said association president Kim Heizmann, a realtor with Century 21 in Vernon.

"It means the buyer frenzy has calmed down slightly."

</who>Wile home sales activity has come off the boil, prices continue to rise, setting a new record-high benchmark price of $901,600 for a single-family home in May. This three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,500-square-foot home on Quail Crescent is listed for sale for $899,000.

KelownaNow first reported signs of cooling in mid-May when ReMax Kelowna realtor Rick Hamer-Jackson told us buyers seemed to be taking a breather to get away from bidding wars for homes that lead to sales of $10,000 to $100,000 over the list price.

Heizmann uses an apropos driving analogy.

"We are seeing an easing up on the gas pedal (of a car) that has been going above the speed limit, to now moving within a reasonable pace," she said.

"There is a slight reduction in pressure that is creating a calming effect for a healthier market for both buyers and sellers."

The average number of days a house is on the market before selling is 24, an indication that buyers are able to somewhat take their time, do their due diligence and pay a fair price.

The trend of record prices also extends to townhouses and condominiums in Kelowna.

In May, the average benchmark selling price of a townhouse was $621,800, up from $560,900 in April.

Also last month, the average benchmark selling price of a condo was $455,400, up from $438,400.

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