Reasons to Come to Kelowna

Why Kelowna, British Columbia is Desirable Real Estate

In-Demand British Columbia Real Estate

In April of 2018, the Financial Post stated that home sales throughout British Columbia plummeted in March compared to 2017; the 24.6 % decline was attributed to the new mortgage qualification rules which have curbed housing demand. Still, B.C. home sales reached $5.39 billion, which represents a 20.6% fall over March 2017. And average home prices continue to increase, reaching just over $732,000 in the first quarter of 2018 – and remain the highest in the nation.

Why is B.C. such a trendy place to own property? There are several theories: its connection to the Pacific makes it a desirable area for Asian immigrants, contributing to cultural diversity; the mild winters are an attraction for those tired of the snow but who don’t want to leave Canada; there is a high standard of living with high wages and employment benefits and low crime rates. And all of this is driving up the cost of housing throughout the province.

The real estate market in most large cities, especially in Vancouver and Victoria, is ruled by high-prices homes that are simply out of reach for most residents, with home price-income gaps near or even over $100,000. The recent decrease in sales can be mostly blamed on the lack of affordable housing; most homes in metro Vancouver are listed at over $1 million, meaning that the average family cannot qualify for mortgages on detached homes, and in some areas, not even townhomes or apartments. Residents unable to find homes within the highest-prices areas are moving into suburban and more rural areas, increasing their population and the demand for housing in those areas – which in turns limits the availability of affordable housing and continues the cycle.

There is a high demand for more affordable housing in the metropolitan areas, but until dramatic changes come about in either the real estate market or the median family income, most families find themselves forced to rent. Currently, cities like Vancouver would need to approve large-scale housing developments of lower-priced homes – which is highly unlikely to happen; the more frightening alternative would be for the real estate market to crash as happened in Las Vegas in 2008.

Whatever the solution, is seems the demand for affordable housing province-wide must be met soon, or BC residents may leave the province in droves, seeking homes more within their means elsewhere in the country.

Why Everyone is Moving to Kelowna

A sun-filled valley sits just west of the Rocky Mountains in Eastern British Columbia; the Okanagan boasts some of the best weather in the province – or even the country – and is fast becoming one of the most fashionable places to live in the entire nation. There are many advantages to life in Kelowna, situated on the shores of Okanagan Lake, and the gateway to the beautiful Okanagan valley.

Originally a tourist destination and vacation hotspot, Kelowna has seen a large influx of year-long residents as real estate values continue to rise in Vancouver and many other large Canadian cities. It is a fast-growing city surrounded by provincial parks, pine forest, mountains, orchards, and vineyards. It is blessed with beautiful springs, warm summers, crisp autumns, and mild winters – and far less rain than most of the province with over 2,000 hours of sunshine annually.

Kelowna touts itself as a mix of rural and urban lifestyles, of cultural and outdoor pastimes, an excellent vacation destination but also a uniquely beautiful place to live. The Lake is the place to be in warm weather – for relaxing on one of the many beaches, or taking to the water for boating, paddle-boarding, kayaking, swimming or snorkelling. Golfers can choose from nearly 20 nearby courses. Hiking and bike trails abound and several ski resorts are within easy driving distance. Food enthusiasts can visit fruit orchards, farms and markets for locally grown delicacies such as cherries, apricots, berries, apples and pears; many local restaurants serve farm-fresh seasonal products grown right in the Valley; dozens of local vineyards offer wine tours and tastings, as well as many cideries, distilleries, and craft breweries.

But, the biggest draw – aside from the excellent public and private schools and a variety of comprehensive medical facilities – is that the Okanagan Valley, and the Kelowna area more specifically, still boast some of the lowest home prices in the province. As reported by CBC’s Chris Walker in January of 2017, the city is growing 3 times as fast as Victoria or Vancouver and many home values increased by 30% over the previous 5 years. Many new arrivals are fleeing the high housing costs in these other large BC cities; the same $500,000 budget that would net a one-bedroom 500 square foot apartment in Vancouver, will secure the buyer a two-bedroom 1,500 square foot apartment in downtown Kelowna.

Whether you come for a short visit, or plan to settle down here, Kelowna and the surrounding Okanagan Valley is the place to be.