Why the Okanagan housing market may fare better than other Canadian regions amid pandemic - InfoNews

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Why the Okanagan housing market may fare better than other Canadian regions amid pandemic

Image Credit: Submitted / City of Kelowna
May 31, 2020 - 7:00 AM

Despite predictions of a dramatic drop in the housing market, the new president of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board says this region is doing just fine.

"We actually don’t think those numbers are reasonable at all because real estate is really regional and market specific, especially in the Okanagan," Kim Heizmann told iNFOnews.ca today, May 29. "Because we’re a destination market we’re a little bit insulated."

The numbers she's referring to were put out in a special edition Housing Market Outlook from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

It says housing starts could drop by as much as 64 per cent in B.C., sales could drop by as much as 25 per cent and prices of the average home could fall by more than $100,000.

Heizmann doesn't have exact numbers – May's figures will be out next week – but she's seen a steady increase in sales each week and prices holding fairly steady.

"That's happening because the consumer confidence is returning because of the ability of realtors to do virtual tours," Heizmann said. "We still have a pent-up demand."

B.C. will fare better than the country as a whole, according to numbers released separately from the written report by CMHC Chief Economist Bob Dugan.

While sales are predicted to drop 19 to 29 per cent nationally, the range for B.C. is predicted to be 15 to 25 per cent.

New housing starts could drop 50 to 75 per cent nationally while B.C. starts are expected to be in the 44 to 64 per cent range.

Heizmann could not comment on the number of housing starts expected in the region, which runs from Peachland to Revelstoke.

The average price for homes in B.C. peaked at more than $740,000 before COVID-19. The report expects it to fall and range from about $600,000 to $680,000 before starting to recover in the later part of 2021. The forecast shows a possible peak price of $713,000 by the end of 2022, but it could be $100,000 less.

Heizmann said there have actually been some price increases in a couple of areas of the Okanagan.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2020

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