Local home sales see slowdown in May

Home sales in the Central Okanagan were down 31% last month, when compared to May of last year.

That's according to numbers released by the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board, which says May is the third straight month it's seen sales volumes drop from 2017 levels.

Board President Marv Beer says the best way to make things affordable is by adding more supply, not eliminating potential buyers.

"Taxing wealth is not going to increase supply. They have to look at getting rid of some of the red tape of building permits and land rezoning. The only way we're going to get out of this lack of housing, is to build more houses," he said.

He says government regulation, like the stress test requirements for mortgages, put unneeded hurdles in the way of homebuyers.

"Probably one of the biggest things is to roll back some of the legislation that's happened, that's the easiest way to alleviate that. They're saying, basically, that people don't know how to manage their own funds. Whereas people are adults, and they know what they can afford, I would say for the most part. It's definitely taken the steam out of the market."

The number of listings were also up by 9% from last May, with the average price of a single family home currently sitting at about $723,000 - up 2.7%.

Beer notes that Okanagan municipalities have made a point of encouraging residential development in recent years, and hopes other parts of the province take note.

"Not just in Kelowna, as well in Vernon and Salmon Arm, even in Revelstoke. Revelstoke is growing quite rapidly as well," he said.

"It's all over our region. That type of mentality in municipal governments can really pave the way for bringing more homes online and available for consumers - renters and buyers."

Other notable drops were in the sales of mobile homes and townhouses, which both dipped 40% from May to May.