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Kelowna housing market catches spring fever

Hey, it's not boomtime.

But it is incremental steps in the right direction.

Just-released data shows both home sales and prices edged up in April in Kelowna compared to March.

"After a sluggish start to the year, we are seeing buyer optimism returning as the busy spring market has arrived," said Chelsea Mann, president of the 2,600-member Association of Interior Realtors.

"Buyers who hit pause on their real estate ventures amid rising interest rates last year have started to resume their searches with different expectations in mind."

</who>Chelsea Mann is the president of the 2,600-member Association of Interior Realtors.

To put that into numbers, a total of 390 properties of all kinds (single-family, townhouse and condominium) sold in April, up from 368 in March, 236 in February and 151 in January.

However, last month's sales tally of 390 is still way off the 690 sales in May 2021 when the market was red-hot.

</who>This 2,762-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom house on Simpson Court is listed for sale for $1,024,900, which is a little less than the $1,051,100 benchmark selling price of a typical home in Kelowna in April.

In April, the benchmark selling price of a typical single-family home in Kelowna was $1,051,100, which is a bump from $1,001,500 in March, but still a $80,700 plunge from the record-high of $1,131,800 in April 2022.

Last month, the benchmark selling price of a typical townhouse in the city was $717,000, a pop from $703,200 in March, but still significantly off the record-high $829,000 in May 2022.

</who>A 1,345-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bathroom unit in this complex on Gellatly Road South is listed for sale for $714,900, which is close to the benchmark selling price of $717,000 for a typical townhouse in Kelowna in April. 

In April, the benchmark selling price of a typical condo in Kelowna was $528,100, up a fair bit from $492,600 March, but still below the record-setting $557,000 of April 2022.

While prices are softer than last year's peak, they are still nowhere near affordable.

Kelowna continues to be the fourth most expensive housing market in Canada behind Vancouver, Toronto and Victoria.

That means many people, especially potential first-time homebuyers are still priced out of the market.

</who> A one-bedroom-plus-den unit in the Playa del Sol complex at 654 Cook Rd. is listed for sale for $529,900, which is just a little more than the benchmark selling price of $528,100 for a typical condominium in Kelowna in April.

The reasons for the housing plummet have been well-documented -- inflation, higher mortgage interest rates and shaken consumer confidence.

But after nine months of downward pressure, the Kelowna housing market has been improving, slowly and steadily.

What that means is there's been improvement of late, but sellers will likely get 10% less for their place compared to selling a year ago.

It will also probably take longer to sell your place compared to last year's boom, with buyers looking around more, negotiating on price and demanding more to close the deal.

The current number of homes of all kinds listed for sale in the Central Okanagan is 1,946, which is up significantly -- 46% -- compared to the same time last year.

However, that's still considered too few.

"The chronic lack of supply has been a common theme for the last few years with new listings simply not hitting the market as actively to meet the demand of growing communities," said Mann.

"The limited housing stock makes it really challenging for motivated buyers to find what they are looking for within their price range."

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