Realtors see positive signs despite plummeting sales figures

It was a little tougher trying to sell your Kootenay home in October, according to a new report from a regional realtors’ association.

The Association of Interior Realtors says “sales held steady” in October in the overall region, while inventories increased.

But it depends how you define ‘steady.’ All but one region in the association’s coverage area (which includes Kamloops, the Okanagan, and Boundary) saw the number of unit sales and dollar volume drop – anywhere between 25% and 52%.

In the Kootenay region, unit sales decreased 44.8% compared to October 2021 with 203 sales recorded in October 2022. The dollar value of sales was also down 45.8%, with $94.3 million in residential sales.

The coming of winter normally puts the rural Kootenay real estate market into a deep freeze, says a Kaslo realtor.

“Listings do come off the market as it becomes harder for folks to keep snow plowed and things looking show-ready,” says Kul Nijjar of Fair Realty. “We also see a downturn in folks coming to look due to weather and road conditions.”

Statistics show sales slowed for every community in the Valley Voice readership area – Nakusp the most, with sales going down from 12 to two comparing October 2021 to October 2022. New Denver and Silverton saw no sales at all last month.

“We have less on the market in the Kaslo/New Denver areas and we also have less demand right now – which again is typical (just the last two to three years have not been typical),” Nijjar points out. Homeowners often take the winter to spruce up their listing to try again in the spring, she adds.

The lack of inventory in the North Slocan Valley is also good for people toughing out the winter doldrums and leaving their homes on the market.

“Prices have dropped a little but I'm finding in the Upper Slocan Valley, that the simple lack of inventory is abating a bit of the decline,” says Bill Lander of Coldwell Banker Rosling Real Estate in Nelson.

Equilibrium after ‘frenzy’

There were 257 new listings recorded in the Kootenay Boundary region in October, 20.9% fewer than the same time last year. However, overall active listings in the Kootenay Boundary region increased 28.2% compared to October 2021 with 1,209 listings registered.

“It’s nice to see active listings starting to build back up again,” notes Association of Interior Realtors President Lyndi Cruickshank. “However, we are not quite out of what is considered a seller’s market, and into a balanced market.

Cruikshank said the Kootenay Boundary continues to be attractive and affordable for buyers. And while sales numbers are substantially lower than a year ago, she says inventory numbers are showing a healthy sign of recovery from the supply shock throughout the pandemic.

“Unlike the last two years or so where we saw buyers’ and sellers’ expectations drastically unaligned from each other, a shift from the frenzy earlier this year coupled with the winter seasonal slowdown is bringing some equilibrium to the market amidst rising interest rates,” added the AIR President. “Motivated buyers’ and sellers’ expectations are able to come closer together, resulting in a much more positive home buying and selling experience.”

The Association of Interior Realtors represents about 2,500 realtors in the Kootenays, Boundary Country, Kamloops and the Okanagan.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice