A recent study produced by Resonance Consultancy indicates folks are on the move to the Okanagan in general and Kelowna in particular. Resonance is a Vancouver-based firm that produces ongoing original research into what moves people to places and products. A large number of British Columbians and Albertans are targeting Kelowna and the Okanagan as a possible in-migration destination. The findings were part of their 'Future of BC Housing' study.
The study projects that over the next five years, more than four in 10 home owners and seven in 10 renters are planning to buy, or rent, a different home. Three-quarters of those say they plan to stay in the same city or region but, of those planning a change, 13 per cent chose Kelowna and the Thompson-Okanagan as a most likely destination. The survey also shows people continue to be concerned about the state of housing with 74 per cent saying housing is unaffordable.
Kelowna, which is described as the urban heart of the Okanagan, has moved into the top 5 areas in BC for attracting young workers. The job creation within its tech sector and the relative affordability of housing are cited as two of the main drivers. This is also impacting the demand for new multifamily housing – rental and for sale – in the central, more pedestrian oriented downtown resulting in accelerated absorptions and pricing. In addition to attracting younger folks, the downsizing trend is observed locally and by residents from large urban centres and from smaller cities and towns in BC and Alberta. This is expected to be a long-term trend.
Mark West, President of local real estate firm Epic Real Estate Solutions, had this to say, “This accelerating demand trend is a big reason the downtown property markets are experiencing a resurgence. This is certain to drive several new development opportunities in the region and in downtown Kelowna over the next five to seven years.”
The Okanagan Valley, while experiencing a demographic shift, remains a desired new locale for aging baby boomers. W. Scott Brown, President of Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Limited, a project marketing organization active in Kelowna and Metro Vancouver, expounded, “We recently completed the analysis of our buyer profile following the rapid and successful launch of a 21-storey concrete high-rise located in the residential heart of downtown Kelowna. Approximately 52 percent of the buyers were technically baby boomers in terms of age, coming from Metro Vancouver and smaller centres outside the region. Eighty percent of these out of market buyers were from Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. The majority of the buyers are professionals or business owners buying with an eye towards semi or full time retirement.”
“During the design face our research led us to modify the mix of homes to be offered, not once, but twice, to meet the demand for larger spaces.” Brown added.