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Spring sparks improvement in Kelowna housing market

Yes, home sales in Kelowna were up in March compared to the doldrums in January and February.

However, the activity is still way off what it was in March 2022 when the market was hot.

As well, selling prices continue to bounce around, and are considerably below record-highs set last spring.

</who>Lyndi Cruickshank is the past-president of the 2,600-member Association of Interior Realtors.

"The upwards movement in sales activity compared to the previous month is showing signs that market activity is on its way to recovering from the previous month's slump, while still maintaining healthy market activity," said Association of Interior Realtors past-president Lyndi Cruickshank.

"A more balanced market allows both parties to confidently move forward with their real estate aspirations."

Aspirations are relative, of course.

Sellers will have to accept a price of about 15% less to sell their home compared to a year ago and it will take twice as long to sell it (55 days) compared to a year ago.

And while buyers can snag a lower price, take their time and negotiate more, they are still faced with historically high prices and not a lot of choice because inventory of homes for sale is still historically low.

Thus, Kelowna is still unaffordable for many low-and-medium income earners because of hefty prices, higher mortgage interest rates and rules requiring bigger down payments.

</who>This three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 1,831-square-foot house on Vickers Court in Kelowna is listed for sale for $1,015,000, which is a little more than the $1,001,500 benchmark selling price of a typical single-family home in the city in March.

The seller of a typical single-family home will not get the record-high benchmark selling price of $1,131,800 they would have gotten in April 2022.

Instead, they can expect $130,300 less, or $1,001,500, which was the benchmark selling price of a typical single-family home in Kelowna in March.

That price, just over $1 million, is up a touch from the $971,300 in February and $976,800 in January.

In March, 180 single-family homes sold in the city, a healthy jump from the 123 in February and 63 in January.

However, it's a plummet of 40% from March 2022 when the market was booming.

The sudden downturn in the housing market has been well-documented and fretted about.

Inflation ramped up post-pandemic, interest rates (including mortgage interest rates) we hiked up in an effort to (unsuccessfully) tame inflation and home buyers lost confidence.

Spring is traditionally the strongest time of year for home sales.

And this spring is no different with its little uptick.

But it will certainly not match last spring's price and sales frenzy.

When it comes to townhouses, 58 changed hands in Kelowna last month, a bump from 39 in February and 36 in January.

However, still 30% less than March 2022.

The benchmark selling price of a typical townhouse in the city last month was $703,200, down from $742,200 in February and off $125,800 from the record-high of $829,000 set in May 2022.

In March, 130 condominiums sold in March, a spike from 74 in February and 52 in January, but still 35% less than the same month last year.

The benchmark selling price for a typical condo in Kelowna last month was $492,600, down from $496,300 in February and off $64,400 from the record-high benchmark of $557,000 in April 2022.

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