KELOWNA, B.C. — Developers in Kelowna, B.C. are looking to lure Toronto residents away from the east’s increasingly unaffordable real estate market.
In the Central Okanagan a COVID-19-spurred real estate boom has bloomed with 157 homes worth more than $1 million, each being sold in January-February 2021. Condo sales alone are up 670 per cent over that same period last year, with recovery trends outpacing any setbacks to the real estate market in early 2020, and overall, January 2021 saw the highest number of home sales in the past 10 years. Approximately 10 per cent of those sales are to buyers from Toronto and other parts of Eastern Canada.
Toronto regularly is listed as one of the least affordable places in the world to buy a home. Over the past two years, approximately 4,000 Canadians have migrated to Kelowna from outside British Columbia and those numbers are anticipated to trend higher.
According to the RATESDOTCA Livability Report released in March, 61 per cent of homebuyers cited affordability as a major reason for relocating with one in five buyers moving from an urban hub to a smaller town in search of lower prices. The same report also named Kelowna as the second most popular relocation destination for 2021.
Looking to take advantage of the trend are developers like Anthony Beyrouti, co-founder of Orchard Park Properties. He plans to build a multi-tower community called Water Street by the Park. The 559,000-square-foot mixed-use development will feature 650 residential condominiums, including 45,000 square feet of retail and office space.
“The project offers something for almost everyone. Downsizers, young professionals attracted to the region’s strong economy and second lowest unemployment rate in Canada, and the proximity to the university make it appealing for homeowners and investors. It’s a development with a lot to offer,” said Beyrouti. “We expect that there will be some interest from foreign buyers because Kelowna is such an attractive tourism destination with the climate, the lake, the wineries, and the winter sports, but we’re focusing mainly on building community locally and welcoming buyers looking to leave larger Canadian urban centres, like Vancouver and Toronto, who want plenty of space without the effort that comes with owning a detached home.”