Who is buying homes in the Okanagan‐Shuswap? OMREB February 2011

MEDIA RELEASE February 18, 2011

Who is buying homes in the Okanagan‐Shuswap? Author -: Brenda Moshansky, OMREB President

Kelowna, BC – Ever wonder where home buyers come from?

Since September 2010, the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) has been collecting information from our members with regards to where our buyers are coming from – both geographically and demographically.

The purpose of collecting this data is to add another element to our market knowledge and a better understanding of current trends. The longer record, the more insight the Board will have.

Results of OMREB’s new Board wide monthly Buyers Survey indicate that serious buyers are taking advantage of the current market and leveraging their positive purchasing power while it lasts.

Buyer profiles gathered through each monthly survey include property type, family dynamic, financing, and areas moving from and to.
On average during the past five months, home buyers have been coming from: within the OMREB Board area (57.28%); Alberta (14%); Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island (13%); other areas of BC (7.3%); Saskatchewan/Manitoba (3.78%); outside Canada (2.58%); and Eastern Canada/Maritimes (1.88%).

January 2011 Survey Highlights:

31.7% of purchases in the OMREB Board area were by Move Up Buyers, and 27% by First Time Buyers, 7.9% Single Family to Strata, 4.8% Revenue Property, 3.2% Recreation Property, 3.2% Strata to Single Family, 1.6% to Retirement Community; 29.9% were Two Parent Families With Children, 19.4% of Buyers were Couples Without Children, 17.9% were Single Females, 13.4% Single Males, and 11.9% Empty Nesters/Retirees; 53.8% financed via Conventional Mortgage (with more than 20% down), 27.7% by High Ratio Mortgage (less than 20% down, and 18.5% paid by Cash; 64.2% were from Within OMREB Board Area, 13.4% were from Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island, 9% from Alberta, and 6% from other areas of BC; 56.7% of purchases were in Kelowna/West Kelowna, 10.4% in Vernon/Coldstream, and 9% in Salmon Arm.

Real estate markets can be driven by local demand, demand stemming from outside the region or province, by international sources, or by a combination of all three. “Knowing how many homes are sold and at what price is an important part of the picture,” notes Brenda Moshansky, OMREB President and REALTOR® in the Central Zone.

“However, understanding who your buyers are and where they come from can reveal not only market dynamics but also identify which factors actually drive local demand. For example, a change in entry level buyer activity can have a ripple effect throughout the entire market as many move‐up buyers rely on first‐time buyers to purchase their existing homes.”

Low interest rates and attractive pricing alone don’t necessarily mean increased sales activity. Many additional factors affect consumer confidence, including local employment opportunities and the overall economic environment. Real estate markets can also react differently depending on the influence of various buyer segments.
“Housing markets in Vancouver, for example, are being bolstered by off‐shore buyers while the Alberta market is closely linked to natural resource prices and their job market,” Moshansky explains. “Since a sizable proportion of local sales come from buyers that originate outside our region, 50% being non‐local, we need to keep an eye on Alberta and the Lower Mainland. Our monthly Buyers Survey helps to do just that. “

So if you were curious as to what is moving our local real estate market, this is a bit of insight.
OMREB is comprised of 1,135 member REALTORS® and 86 real estate offices in the Southern Interior of BC, and the Board area covers the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan and Shuswap – from Peachland to Revelstoke.

If you have any additional questions about this article, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards

Trish Cenci

Tel 250 864 1707

Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty