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Weather's hot, real estate market is cool in Kelowna

As expected, Kelowna home sellers and buyers took a bit of a break in the heat of July.

They had other things to do -- vacation, sip a cold one on the patio, hop on the boat, hop into the lake and generally avoid anything that had too much to do with work or decision making.

"Seasonally, it is characteristic to see sales activity cool during the hot summer month, which given the slight dip from activity in June, isn't surprising," said Chelsea Mann, president of the 2,600-member Association of Interior Realtors.

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

Last month, there were 374 sales of all kinds (single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums), an 18% plummet from the 456 sales in June and a 23% plunge from the 489 sales in May.

Prices also dipped, but not as dramatically as sales.

In July, the benchmark selling price of a typical single-family home in the Central Okanagan was $1,063,700, down just $100 from June's benchmark.

</who>This four-bedroom, four-bathroom house on Renshaw Rd. is listed for sale for $1,075,000, which is a little more than the $1,063,700 benchmark selling price of a typical single-family home in Kelowna in July.

For townhouses, the July benchmark was $768,500, a slip from $785,900 in June.

Last month, the condo benchmark was $514,900, a 3.75% slide from June's $533,100.

After sales peaked in 2021 and prices set record highs in 2022, Kelowna's residential real estate market has been in flux due to inflation and higher mortgage interest rates scaring buyers and sellers and potential buyers and sellers.

Sales and prices were on a slow upward trajectory from the late-2022, early-2023 doldrums when summer came along and suppressed both.

There could be slight, further erosion in both sales and prices this month as summer continues hot and people find other fun things to do besides buy and sell homes.

Another indication sales are slowing is the number of days it takes to sell a home.

That's 41 for single-family, an 11% increase from last year, 38 for townhouses (for 75% longer) and 46 for condos, 27% longer.

However, prices are expected to remain relatively stable and maybe even climb because inventory of homes for sale is low.

With not a lot of choice on the market, sellers can be somewhat firm on price.

"While inventory is gaining momentum, low supply is still an issue and a primary factor driving price growth," said Mann.

"It is promising to see some typical market activity despite high interest rate hikes creating a challenging climate for buyers and sellers."

However, that promise only goes so far.

Kelowna home prices are still historically high and that means many people are priced out of the market.

Some who would like to sell the house they own to move up into a bigger and better one are holding tight; others are renting, even though they'd like to buy; others still are renting and sharing with roommates because that's all they can afford right now; and finally, some are still living with mom and dad because they can't afford to rent or buy currently.

Mann said the trend may even be going farther.

"With consumers feeling pinched by high mortgage rates, some buyers have gravitated towards eyeing other geographical regions with more affordable options," she said.

That could mean a buyer settles on the cheaper Glenrosa neighbourhood in West Kelowna rather than the tonier Upper Mission in Kelowna.

It might also mean a buyer forgoing the expensive Central Okanagan all together and purchasing in more affordable areas in the North Okanagan, Shuswap, Kamloops or even out of province.

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