Kelowna real estate prices down, but ‘huge demand for condos’: report

By Doyle Potenteau -Global News

Home prices in Kelowna have decreased from last year, but there are increased levels of construction activity in the Central Okanagan, according to a new real estate survey.

According to Royal LePage, in the third quarter of 2019, the median home price in Kelowna decreased 3.9 per cent year-over-year to $617,899.

During the third quarter of 2018, Royal LePage said the median home price in Kelowna was $640,864, which rose to $643,787 in the first quarter of 2019.

The average price includes housing of all types.

Royal LePage says when broken out by housing type, the median price of a standard two-storey home decreased 6.0 per cent year-over-year to $676,843. In the third quarter of 2018, Royal LePage said two-storey homes had a median price of $719,870. In the first quarter of 2019, the median price was $729,602.

The median price of a bungalow is $635,863 ($657,661 in 2018 third quarter; $635,418 in 2019 first quarter), while the median price of a condominium is $432,927 ($404,575 in 2018 third quarter; $435,823 in 2019 first quarter).

But against those decreases are signs of increased housing.

The city, especially in the downtown core, is experiencing a boom of sorts, with several condos and towers under construction.

According to the City of Kelowna, between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 1,152 new multi-housing units have been built or are currently being built.

Of those 1,152, the vast majority were apartment units, at 701, followed by renovated secondary suites in single-family dwellings (119), new secondary suites in single-family dwellings (104) and new residential townhouses (96).

“We are experiencing increased levels of activity in both sales and construction, especially in the condominium market. There is a huge demand for condos and homes with suites,” said Francis Braam, managing broker and owner, Royal LePage Kelowna.

“To address the strong demand for condos and high land costs in the region, the city has rezoned parts of the core to allow for higher density levels.”

Braam continued, saying “buyers from Vancouver, especially from the Lower Mainland, are migrating inland to regions like Kelowna in search of more affordable living, but with a similar quality of life and employment opportunities as are available in larger cities.”

He noted that the steady demand from within B.C. is being offset by the province’s recent speculation and vacancy tax, which targets foreign and domestic speculators who don’t pay taxes here.

“As a result,” said Braam, “home price increases have moderated in the region.”

Royal LePage says the national median price of a home in Canada increased 1.4 per cent year-over-year to $630,335 during the third quarter of 2019.

It is predicting that during the fourth quarter, the national median price will rise to $632,226 — 0.3 per cent higher than the third quarter and 1.5 per cent higher when compared to 2018.

Meanwhile, the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board has slightly different prices. It lists the median price of an apartment is $345,000, a townhouse at $480,000 and a home at $661,250.

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