Buckle up for a wild real estate ride in the Onanaagn – Opinion | Ezine Daddy

It’s going to be a wild ride – in a good way.

Kelowna is proving increasingly promising as one of Canada’s emerging economic centers and one of the country’s strongest real estate markets. A recent Fundscraper report showed that Kelowna is among the nation’s leading emerging real estate markets.

The study analyzed population growth, location, GDP per capita, employment, income and house prices. Kelowna was just ahead of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Barrie, Ontario.

In addition, the latest Canadian census data, released this February, shows that Kelowna is the fastest growing census metro area in Canada, with growth of 14% (among cities of 100,000 people or more).

It’s a promising recipe that is propelling Kelowna’s buyers, sellers, developers, builders and marketers on a growth trajectory. For example, the Epic team has grown from three to 26 employees in just over a year, and we see tremendous growth potential in Kelowna’s multi-family, leisure and luxury markets.

Expect an active summer market as shoppers prioritize lifestyle

Thanks to its vineyards, wineries, beaches and lakes, the Okanagan Valley has attracted the interest of shoppers across the country, and with more visitors expected this summer after two years of mostly pandemic restrictions, Kelowna’s best marketing tool is poised to bring additional Pents are attracting increasing demand from people who want a slice of the idyllic Okanagan lifestyle.

Remote working has allowed greater flexibility in where we live and empowered Canadians to prioritize their lifestyle needs. As a result, we’re seeing a shift in Okanagan Valley buyer demographics into a much broader spectrum, including baby boomers looking to relocate, investors, young professionals eager to put down roots, and mature families looking to upgrade their premises.

Interest from Lower Mainland buyers has also increased significantly in the new home market.

Our internal data showed that 45% of our buyers are from Lower Mainland, 31% from the Okanagan, 12% from Alberta and 5% from Ontario – a shift in site demographics compared to previous years when the majority of buyers were from Alberta.

However, as the real estate market in Alberta gains momentum, Epic expects the number of buyers from that region to start picking up again starting this year. Ontario shoppers have also doubled year over year as the Okanagan is now on the map for Ontario residents as a destination to visit and live.

Unlike previous markets where a large percentage of the buyers were investors and speculators, the buyers we see have strong ties to the Okanagan and are looking to put down roots, relocate their business to the area or spend part of the year doing so to spend time enjoying the incomparable lifestyle that the region offers.

Buyer decision-making is seeing a notable shift

For those who experienced the Kelowna real estate boom and subsequent crash in the early 2000s, this real estate wave may feel familiar; However, there is one crucial difference to today’s market. There has been a clear shift in how buyers make decisions. With market information now widely available and easily accessible online, today’s buyers are making more informed decisions when it comes to buying homes in the area.

Lifestyle and the ability to retire early or work remotely are also important factors influencing the decision making of shoppers today. The pandemic has caused people to realize that time is precious and they are seizing the opportunity to live the lifestyle they want, whether it’s moving their business locally or working remotely. Buyers also see the Okanagan Valley’s future growth potential for a wise investment decision.

With strategic decisions being made today and significantly more inventory available compared to the early 2000s, we expect the market to continue to grow in the coming years – albeit gradually becoming more balanced.

Economic growth drives demand in the inner city core

According to the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC), job vacancies in the Central Okanagan increased 42.5% between 2020 and 2021 and the unemployment rate steadily recovered. Unsurprisingly, however, Kelowna’s downtown area has seen significant growth in recent years.

In addition, new high-rise buildings are currently being developed to accommodate Kelowna’s growing population and to revitalize the downtown core, including ONE Water Street, Kelowna’s tallest residential tower, which will complete construction this summer.

Downtown expansion is expected to accelerate even further with the arrival of the new campus in downtown UBC Okanagan. We are already seeing significant interest from developers looking to build near the campus and expect this neighborhood to watch for further growth.

West Kelowna is also a growing region to watch as it’s emerging as a great alternative to downtown as communities like Lakeview Village, which offers walking access to a retail village, outdoor activities and the Wine Route, are added.

As Kelowna’s economy continues to diversify and buyers flock to the Okanagan Valley for its unparalleled lifestyle, there will be immense future growth potential for Kelowna’s multi-family, leisure and luxury markets, signaling a wild real estate ride for which we can collectively prepare .

Shane Styles is President and Curt Woodhall is Senior Vice President at Epic Real Estate Solutions in Kelowna.

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