Well, welcome to Witchita! Winter is finally here and with that usually comes a slow down in the market. Most people choose to hunker down, but why? Off season buying is where you can find the best deals! I find that working with buyers and sellers through the winter usually indicates motivation with respect to their real estate needs. Why else would you move in the winter???
City wide sales for the month of October were down 10.9% to 1,467 homes. The spring market was stronger than expected though, so year to date sales are up 5.3%. Inventory levels sit at 6,463. This is lower than last month by about 400 homes which is helping to keep prices somewhat stable. These levels are still 19% over last year. Curiously enough, there have been quite a few more listings in the $300K-$500K range. It seems that the pent up demand over the last 2 years may have dried up. Tough to tell as there are many factors that are contributing to a slower market; rising interest rates, weak migration and changes to the lending policies. The government certainly has been active in tightening up the mortgage rules! The newest rule coming in to effect January 2018 will have uninsured mortgages (more than 20%) qualified with a stress test. This same stress test was introduced over a year ago for CMHC insured mortgages (less than 20% down). Once again this will affect people's purchasing power by 20-30%. The policy is more directed at heated markets in Canada (Toronto & Vancouver), but in our market, this will have a significant effect on the move up market. This could be a reason for an increase in inventory in the $300-$500K range.
Detached homes have seen quite a swing from previous months. Sales were down 12% (908) from this time last year and inventory levels are up 26% (3,246 homes). Benchmark prices are up 0.6% ($506,200) from last October and have stayed relatively flat for the last 2 years. Average days on market for sold properties is 44. The months of supply is slowly creeping up to 3.5 from 2.5 last year. The East side is seeing shorter supply. Sales to new listing ratio is 85% with months of supply at 2.25. Good time to sell! Demand is higher as this is one of the more affordable areas in the city. The West side has shown the biggest price gains year over year at 5%. Keep in mind though, it was this same area that lost the most value shortly after the oil prices dropped late 2014.
Apartment sales were off by 6.8% since last year at this time (233 homes), however, year to date sales are still up 3.8%. Benchmark prices sit at $261,600 (down 3.25% year over year). The average apartment is taking 67 days to sell. It may take a little longer in the Northeast and North districts as they have over 10 months of supply. You can find the best deals in the South and East as prices have dropped over 5% since October last year.
Although row homes have seen a large drop off in sales last month (down 8.5%), the segment is still up 8.6% year to date. The first part of the year saw prices plunge, however, in recent months, prices have recovered. Inventory levels remain high (15% up from last year) especially on the East side of town (Northeast, East & Southeast). Benchmark prices are at $305,000 which is a 0.5% increase from this time last year.
The semi detached segment had quite a shift as well! While this part of the market has been strong for the last year, sales took a 14% hit and inventory levels are up 28% year over year. Overall prices have been trending up (3.1% since last October), however, look for an adjustment here based on the preliminary stats. There is considerably lower inventory in the Southeast and higher inventory in the North, City Centre & West districts. The Northwest, West & City Centre are all up over 5% since last year.
- benchmark prices are down 0.6% since last year at this time
- sales are above the 10 year average although inventory levels remain high
- there has been plenty more listings to match the increase in sales, keeping inventory level
- benchmark prices are down 0.4% since this time last year and are 5% lower than peak levels of 2014
- October sales were above the norm, however, year to date sales remain flat
- benchmark prices are 0.9% lower than last year
- while Okotoks has weathered the storm fairly well through this recession, the last 7 months have taken their toll with prices dropping 4% in that time frame
It will be interesting to see what these high inventory levels do to prices over the winter. We should see a considerable number of listings come off the market, however, just how many remains to be seen.
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