Osoyoos real estate market heats up

By on April 9, 2014
Realtors Mary Ihme (left) and Tracy Doucette of RE/MAX Realty Solutions have been busy lately with a stronger real estate market. The economy has been recovering generally and Realtors are always able to sell the Osoyoos lifestyle with its warmer climate and desirable retirement prospects. (Keith Lacey photo)

Realtors Mary Ihme (left) and Tracy Doucette of RE/MAX Realty Solutions have been busy lately with a stronger real estate market. The economy has been recovering generally and Realtors are always able to sell the Osoyoos lifestyle with its warmer climate and desirable retirement prospects. (Keith Lacey photo)

For the first time in a long time – dating back to the worldwide recession of 2008 – the real estate market in Osoyoos is heating up.

That’s great news for local realtors, but also for people looking to buy a home, sell their home or upgrade or downsize.

“We’ve had a great start to 2014 and I really believe it’s going to continue for the rest of the year,” said Tracy Doucette, who has been selling real estate in Osoyoos since 2006 and currently works for RE/MAX Realty Solutions on Main Street.

Local realtors Mary Ihme and Janis Tucker confirm the market is heating up and the future looks very bright for the first time in a long time.

“There has been an 85 per cent increase in reported sold homes from January until the end of March over the same time period one year ago,” said Ihme. “That’s obviously a huge increase and real good sign that the market is coming back in a big way.”

It has taken almost six full years for the Osoyoos market to recover from the devastating crash that coincided with the worldwide recession in the summer and fall of 2008, said Doucette.

“The funny part back then is the local market was doing very well for about six months back in 2008 and then June came around and the market just sort of fell off the Earth,” she said. “It was devastating and it impacted everyone … we’re still recovering from that.”

The impact of the recession has lasted so long because it affected every region of this country and not just B.C. and greatly reduced the market for people willing to spend big dollars on vacation properties, said Doucette.

“Our clientele then and now is mainly from Vancouver and Alberta and when they got hurt, we got hurt here,” she said. “Most homes purchased here are vacation properties and when the money isn’t flying like it normally is, purchasing big ticket items like a second home is the first thing that got cut.”

The Osoyoos real estate market also remained stagnate for several years because people refused to budge on their prices, despite the affects of the recession, said Doucette.

Despite some very lean years for most local realtors, the reality is Osoyoos remains a very desirable place to retire for people across B.C. and Canada and an improving national economy has resulted in the recent boost in sales.

“We remain a great destination because of the weather … and we will always have people getting ready to retire take a good look at Osoyoos,” she said. “We sell a lifestyle here, not just homes, that appeal to a lot of people.”

Despite the tough economic climate, the reality is the affects of the recession have become less harsh with each passing year since 2010, said Doucette.

“Every year has been a little better the past three or four years,” she said. “The year 2013 was a little better than 2012 and 2012 was a little better than 2011. The good news is 2014 looks like we’ll get back to where we were before the recession hit.”

Her office had sold 19 homes as of the end of last week, which is a marked improvement from 2013 numbers for the first three months of the year, said Doucette.

Ihme, who has been selling real estate in Osoyoos since 1991 and owned her own brokerage firm since 1999, said local sales are the best they have been in almost a decade.

“We’ve seen probably 3.5 times the number of properties with accepted offers for the period of the beginning of January to the end of March as compared to last year at the same time,” she said.

“It has been a very good and very welcome start to 2014.”

The average house price in Osoyoos still hasn’t climbed to where they were in 2005, but they are improving with each passing month, she said.

Single family homes priced between $230,000 and $350,000 are moving the quickest, said Ihme.

The average price of a home sold in Osoyoos as of the end of March was just over $303,000, she said.

“Last year that price was $263,000, so we’ve seen an increase on average of $50,000 per home, which is a very good sign the market is strong,” she said.

Many of her clients looking to purchase a new home in Osoyoos are from northern Alberta and several from Ontario and Nova Scotia.

“These are people who are tired of cold and bitter winters and want to come here because of our great weather,” she said.

Ihme also believes the rest of 2014 looks extremely positive for the local real estate market.

Tucker, who along with husband Craig, have been selling real estate in Osoyoos for MacDonald Realty since 2011, said the market is hot and the prospects look outstanding moving forward.

“The last six months have actually been pretty good and 2014 has been really solid through the first three months,” she said. “We’re really encouraged. It’s actually very exciting because it has been a tough haul over the past couple of years.”

She agreed that single family homes are moving quickly and promise to continue selling for the rest of this year, she said.

“We have people looking to move up, those moving into the area, others moving from a condo into a house and one moving from a house to a townhouse,” she said. “That kind of shows that the market is busy and people are looking to buy and sell, which is what you want.”

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

 

 

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