THE MARKET: WHAT IT ALWAYS DID
In the South Okanagan it seemed every 10 years the housing market hit a peak then would start to gradually slide. It happened in 1988/89, then nine years later in 1997/98, again in 2007/08 and yet again in 2017/18. It was like clockwork.
THE PANDEMIC CHANGED ALL THAT
In mid March what had been a relatively typical winter market - steady but balanced - virtually stopped. Listings stalled, buyers disappeared. Then, in mid May, it was like a switch was hit. As interest rates plummeted buyers came back in droves, pre-pandemic listings were gobbled up, often in multiple offers. As it became apparent the Okanagan had dodged the virus, sellers became more confident about buyers coming through their homes. But new listings did little to stop the rush of buyers. Separately, as the travel industry shut down, Apex ski hill saw a surge in sales of all types of properties at record prices. Even as the second wave settles in - with multiple cases in the Okanagan this time around - buyer urgency is still there.
While interest rates played a large part in driving buyer demand, a bigger picture emerged: months of lockdown made many buyers realize they wanted out of what they were in. As home offices becomes more the norm look for more of the same. Bottom line: the Okanagan has long been on peoples' list of a place to end up. Idyllic climate and amenities - everybody's childhood vacation destination!
CRYSTAL BALL PREDICTION
Simply: who knows? Logic says the real estate market in the Okanagan will return to normal at some point with a balance of listings and sales, like it always has in the past. But what if the dynamic has shifted? What if now the Valley is much higher on the radar of potential buyers? That is exactly what happened to Greater Vancouver leading up to and after the 2010 Winter Olympics. And we all know how that played out. Time will tell in the Okanagan.
HEDGE YOUR BETS
Worried prices will be out of reach by the time you're able to make the move? Buy a building lot. They're affordable still and will ride the market in value. Better yet: buy a rental property and have the tenant pay down your mortgage. Move into it when you're able or keep it as a revenue producer when you do move here.