Okanagan Real Estate News from Heidi Lussi September 2017   

Does your home sometimes feel a little cramped?  If so, this month's article has some terrific space saving strategies that will help you get the most out of your square footage!

There's also some great advice on how to keep your plants lean and green as well as a reminder about the dangers of radon and how it can affect your family's health.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

The Heidi Lussi Real Estate Team

In this issue...
The Okanagan Real Estate Market Report 
Housing demand continues to outpace supply.

Residential sales in the Okanagan region of Peachland to Revelstoke cooled slightly in August to 882, an 8% drop from July sales of 961 posted to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) and 14% fewer sales than August of last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

“Conditions still favour the seller, and will likely continue to do so until inventory grows or demand lessens,” says OMREB President Tanis Read, adding, “while August is typically a slower month in terms of sales volume, this imbalance between demand and supply is propping home prices in the Okanagan and may lead to a more sustained drop in home sales if supply can’t catch up.”

Average price in August, at $489,130, was just 3% lower than July, and 5% higher than August of last year.  New listings stayed relatively consistent with the previous month, while days on market rose slightly to 70 from 63 in July, but lower than 85 days this time last year.

Demand is likely to continue to be fueled by strong economic conditions and population growth, driving consumer confidence and housing demand.

“We know there was a high volume of building permits taken out in 2016 and as construction on new builds is completed, supply will hopefully start to catch up to demand, which will, in turn, have a positive effect on affordability,” comments Read.

“In these conditions, a real estate professional can enhance the buyer’s ability to stay on top of scarce new listings and aid in writing offers that will attract sellers’ attention,” says Read.  “Sellers can benefit from the in-depth analysis that goes into pricing a home to suit the conditions and effective management of high-pressure, multiple offer situations.  Both buyers and sellers can be advantaged by engaging a REALTOR® who is knowledgeable about the local market to act as a trusted advisor throughout a complex, high stakes transaction process.”

Turning to buyers of homes in the region served by OMREB, those relocated and/or moving to a similar property type topped the list at 19% of home buyers, followed by first time buyers and those upgrading, both at about 17% of buyers of properties that closed in July, according to an OMREB survey.

Once again, two-parent families with children were the largest buying group at 29%, closely followed by couples without children at 26%.  Buyer origins continue to consistently track, with the vast majority, at 56%, from within the region, followed by 17% from the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island and 11% from Alberta.  Low percentages of buyers from elsewhere in Canada and outside Canada made up the balance.

“While millennials are now reaching ages where they will start to form their own households, it’s interesting, yet perhaps not surprising, to note that we are seeing more parents and even grandparents participating in home purchases for their children/grandchildren,” says Read.

Thinking Big in Small Spaces 
With a little help, you can still live large in a small space!

If you live in a small space, it’s important that you don’t feel boxed in.  The following tips will help transform your cramped quarters into something more expansive:

  1. Shady Solutions - Painting walls a soft shade and the ceiling bright white will give the illusion of added height.

  2. Is That a Door In Your Pocket? - Installing pocket doors is an easy and inexpensive way to create lots of extra useable space.

  3. Lighten Up - Keep window areas clear of heavy drapes to expand wall area and let the sun shine in as it helps a space feel larger.

  4. Mirror Mirror - Strategically placed mirrors will create the illusion of added space and they’ll also reflect light into adjoining rooms.

  5. Cut a Rug - Having the same type of flooring throughout your home will make it feel more spacious so avoid using too many area rugs.

  6. Hide & Seek - Maximize every hidden space you have by using shelving pockets behind doors or bed risers for that all important under the bed storage.

  7. Cut the Clutter - Have a place for everything so that the surfaces in your home don’t get cluttered.  Storage baskets for example are great for hiding remotes & magazines.

  8. Open Up - Arrange your furniture so you can see as much of the floor as possible.  Rooms with blocked views can feel cramped so move furniture away from entrances.

Whether you're getting ready to put your home on the market or you just want to create more space for yourself, these easy and inexpensive tips will help give you a little extra breathing room.  By thinking big and getting creative, you can comfortably live large in even the smallest of spaces.

How to Keep your Houseplants Lean and Green 
A few houseplants will offer your home a breath of fresh air!

Houseplants are visually appealing and also improve our home's air quality by adding oxygen and removing harmful pollutants.  Here are a few hardy plants that will thrive in any environment:

  1. Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are great for beginners as they’re almost impossible to kill and they also look great in hanging baskets.

  2. Cast Iron Plants (Aspidistra elatior) are foolproof as they only require dim light and don’t need much water.

  3. The Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderana) simply stands in water and has been used by the Chinese for centuries in the art of feng shui to create harmony in the home.

Accidental drowning is a leading cause of death for houseplants.  Water them thoroughly but make sure there are drainage holes so excess water can escape as you don’t want your plants to be sitting in water.

Improper lighting is another reason why promising young plants become statistics.  It's important to match the lighting needs of plants with the amount of light you have to offer.

Houseplants are a simple and cost-effective way to infuse natural, serene style into your home.  Better yet, research suggests they reduce stress and cold related illnesses and also increase our energy levels so go out today and outfit your home with some of nature's lean mean green machines!

The Lowdown on Radon 
Do you know if you and your family are protected against radon?

Radon is an invisible radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks.

It doesn't present a concern outdoors but when radon becomes trapped inside a house, it can be very harmful to your health as it increases the risk of lung cancer.

Radon can seep into your home through gaps in floors, walls and foundations.  The only way to know if you have high radon levels is to purchase an inexpensive testing kit or to install a radon detector.

Radon concentrations vary from home to home so don't take any chances -- protect your family by testing your home for radon today.

PS Are you sick of scouring the paper and MLS sites looking for homes? Tired of playing telephone tag with agents only to hear the home's already sold? Sit back, relax and let us do the work for you!

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