Real estate sales activity in the Okanagan in 2012 was up, but prices were down.
"The year ended fairly positively as forecasted expectations for growth in year-over-year residential sales for our area were met," said Rob Shaw, president of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board.
"While many markets in the province were sluggish, Okanagan Mainline saw strong gains most of the year."
The 6,095 properties worth $2.2 billion sold in the region in 2012 is a seven per cent increase from the 5,689 worth $2.1 million that changed hands in 2011.
Sales take into account all types of properties - residential,commercial, institutional and industrial - with the vast majority being residential.
Average selling prices of homes didn't grow in 2012.
In the Central Okanagan, the average selling price over the year for a single-family detached home was $467,800, down slightly from $473,900 in 2011.
In the North Okanagan, the 2012 average was $353,500, off 3.4 per cent from the $366,000 the year before.
"Pricing is as important as ever, with potential buyers taking a wait-and-see approach and some choosing to delay making purchases because they are hoping to see further price drops," noted Shaw, a real estate agent with Royal LePage Downtown Vernon.
"However, home prices in our market are pretty stable and have remained flat overall, so we don't anticipate any significant downward or upward pressure in the coming months."
Ironically, where average selling price did rise is with expensive waterfront homes in Kelowna. The average was $1.86 million in 2012, up 24 per cent.
While sales volume was up overall for 2012, it did slow in the final months of the year.
Mortgage rules got stricter and squeezed some potential buyers out of the market, and wavering consumer confidence amid reports of a soft economy also had an impact.
Looking forward, 2013 is expected to see growth in both sales and prices.
Real estate is closely watched as a leading indicator of the economy.
Also, people never seem to tire of talking about house prices because their home, after all, is not only where they live, but their biggest investment.
The modest forecast for real estate growth likely means economic and job growth locally will be marginal as well.
The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board represents the 1,023 real estate agents in the Central and North Okanagan, Shuswap and Revelstoke who sell using the Multiple Listing Service.
The South Okanagan Real Estate Board is separate and hasn't released year-end numbers yet.
Number of sales: 3,902
Value of sales: $1.5 billion
Average selling price of single family home: $467,800
Waterfront home: $1.86 million
Building lot: $186,900
Number of sales: 3,633
Value of sales: $1.4 billion
Average selling price of single family home: $472,900
Waterfront home: $1.5 million
Building lot: $227,000
Number of sales: 1,461
Value of sales: $485 million
Average selling price of single family home: $353,500
Waterfront home: $945,000
Building lot: $164,000
Number of sales: 1,345
Value of sales: $464 million
Average selling price of single family home: $366,000
Waterfront home: $1.2 million
Building lot: $176,800