We've all heard that the housing market has shifted since the global financial crisis began in the fall of 2008, but how much of a change has there been in our area? As it turns out, quite a bit, especially if you live in Kaleden.
In general terms, the housing market in the Okanagan was peaking in the spring of 2008, highlighted in our area by a sale on Skaha Lake for $2.7 million on Easter weekend of that year. Sales activity slowed by June but, in any year, summer is typically a slower season for house sales.
When the sub-prime crisis hit full bore that fall, virtually all sales activity ended until late February 2009. Then, inexplicably it seems despite severe job losses and high unemployment, the market recovered right across Canada, at least in terms of volume of sales. In our area, sales picked up but only in certain sectors - mostly for houses priced under $500,000. The condo market remained soft and most homes listed over $500,000 tended to sit.
But values had dropped. The waterfront property on Skaha that had sold for $2,700,000 in 2008 sold again almost exactly a year later for $2,080,000 - a decrease of 23%. And the rest of the housing market around the south end of Skaha Lake hasn't faired much better.
Kaleden suffered the biggest change. Here's a look, by area, at
the statistics for single-family dwellings for the period of January 1 to
September 30 in 2008 and for the same period this year:
· Kaleden, which had experienced four sales over $1 million in 2008 but none this year, dropped 39.1% from an average in 2008 of $752,224 to $489,291.
· Eastside of Skaha Lake (Eastside Road, Skaha Estates, Lakeshore Highlands and Heritage Hills): dropped 15.3% from an average sale price of $706,205 to $598,354. Interestingly, Heritage Hills experienced virtually no change in value between the two years.
· Rural Kaleden/Okanagan Falls (Green Lake Road, south Okanagan Falls, etc.): dropped 15.1% from $511,785 to $434,400.
· Okanagan Falls remained virtually unchanged, dropping 1% from $449,569 to $444,309. Ironically, a townhouse unit at the Falls Beach Villas (red-roofed townhouses) sold in August for $625,000 to an out-of-province buyer!
What's happening in the market now? After a very quiet summer and early fall, it seems that activity is picking up again. It's possible the introduction of the HST - although having little direct bearing except on new housing - may be causing a general slowdown in the economy. If that's the case, it's reasonable to predict that people will start buying again and that the housing market will become more active. It’s a just a question of when.