Home Sales Down
Central Okanagan home sales dipped 6% last month, compared to February of 2017. A strong January, however, still equates to an increase in sales of almost 10% in 2018.
Tanis Read, president of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board has some concerns about what's going to happen to a real estate market that has been scorching hot of late. "While indicators suggest we are in a typical point in the market cycle, we have yet to see impacts arising from the BC Government’s recent announcement of an impending array of residential property-related taxes. While we appreciate that the intent of these new taxes is to cool the BC housing market and curb perceived speculation, we are concerned about the unintended consequences that are likely to arise."
Read points to the legions of non BC residents, primarily Albertans, who own properties in Kelowna and West Kelowna who are now going to be potentially subject to a new speculation tax. "This would force out-of-province owners to either contribute dramatically more to BC government coffers or rent out their homes to avoid the levy - effectively taking away the owner’s ability to use their own home. This is also liable to have a detrimental effect on the Okanagan economy, not because of the intended changes to real estate prices, but due to the unintended loss of revenues generated by those homeowners who take advantage of local services such as car dealers, wineries, restaurants, gas stations, etc. and the resulting potential job losses."
"In the long run, I can’t see how curbing sales of recreational, student or non-primary housing options to people from provinces next door and beyond will address the Lower Mainland’s issues with housing affordability," says Read, noting that, at this point, the speculation tax only affects properties in Kelowna and West Kelowna, and not elsewhere in the region served by OMREB.
This February compared to last February average sale prices in the Central Okanagan had a slight increase of 1.41% to just over $534,000.