Home prices in 2019 inched up a bit in the Shuswap and the North Okanagan, and were down slightly in the Central Okanagan.
Also, as predicted, buyers had more to look at as inventory increased slightly. That happened in all three zones. Inventory is up five to 10 per cent, depending on the zone.
Sales were predicted to be flat as well, and that was the case. Sales were up very slightly in the North Okanagan and down slightly in the Shuswap and in the Central Okanagan. The absorption rate—the percentage of total residential inventory that sells on a monthly basis—decreased slightly in all three zones as well.
As the aforementioned statistics indicate, the market has been flat, with a very slight downturn in some categories and a slight upturn in others.
So what will happen in 2020? Basically, we will see more of the same with one slight change. The forces driving the market are changing slightly. There is uncertainty in the U.S. government, the Canadian government and the B.C. government that is keeping consumer confidence down.
However, the banks are counteracting that negativity. Interest rates are historically low again. The first time buyer program that was rolled out in September is being used aggressively, and Toronto and Vancouver have gone into the recovery leg of their cycle. We are still influenced by the increased buyer activity from the failing Alberta market and people cashing in from the West Coast.
We will see a relatively flat market in 2020, but instead of summarizing it as a soft correction, it should be summarized as a soft recovery. Prices, absorption and sales will rise slightly, and inventory will remain relatively constant.
It will be a good market, but nothing spectacular.
Bill Hubbard is a real estate broker and the owner and broker of a four-office real estate firm in the Okanagan-Shuswap. He has been in real estate for 28 years and has been an owner and broker in Vernon for 20 years. At almost 60 years old he is just as passionate about real estate as the day he started.
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