The current real estate market may seem quite daunting, even for a developer. There’s rising inflation, interest rates are through the roof, and gas and material prices are higher than ever; they all start to add up pretty quickly.

However, despite all this, there is a need for more housing in BC. In fact, there are about 70,000 units currently under construction, but experts say the province actually needs about twice that number. 

However, Brendon Ogmundson, chief economist for the BC Real Estate Association says “developers are hesitant to start projects right now because inflation and supply chain problems have jacked up the price of construction materials and there’s a shortage of construction workers.”

While this does hold true for the province as a whole, there are certain areas that are still thriving with commercial development, like Kelowna.

What does this mean for Kelowna?

Kelowna is being eyed by developers both nationally and internationally. Those coming here to develop are also buying homes so they can be close to their investments, which ups the population, which encourages more development, which perpetuates the cycle.

As the Kelowna Capital News reports, larger pension and wealth management funds investors have traditionally seen Kelowna as a secondary market next to Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary or Toronto, but Kelowna’s status has been upgraded by the population growth and business potential that it brings. It’s becoming a hotspot for entrepreneurs to bring new businesses the city hasn’t seen before. While the adage is usually that more people bring in more business, in a lot of these cases, it’s the businesses that are bringing the people with them.

Paired with recent news that the City of Kelowna’s forthcoming financial plan is setting aside a significant amount for development and planning, it bodes well for commercial developers and investors.

More housing on the horizon

Kelowna, like most cities, needs more housing for its current residents, as well as those looking to relocate. While more will always be needed, there are some developments currently underway.

A mixed-use development has been greenlit for the property along Lakeshore Drive and Richter Street, across from the popular Gyro Beach after languishing in limbo for years. The $50.8 million Meiklejohn Architects development, called Caban, will be six storeys with 130 residential units and eight commercial units, as well as a signature waterfall. 

Another residential development is also underway. The site of the old Hiawatha mobile home park will soon be home to several rental-only buildings. The City has approved the 16-building project, which will have 1,000 homes and a daycare with room for 100 children. The tallest buildings will be 17 storeys tall, which is greater than the previous height limit of 11 storeys, but with those extra storeys added, it means there will be fewer buildings on the ground, which the developers say will allow more green space around the community. 

West Kelowna thriving

Kelowna proper isn’t the only thriving city; West Kelowna has been a hotbed of real estate development in recent years. So much so that West Kelowna is looking at creating its own economic development commission.

As reported by The Daily Courier, “reasons given for establishing a new city-owned but arm’s length economic development commission include its ability “act quickly” to pursue opportunities, ensure confidentiality of potential investors considering doing business in West Kelowna, and focusing on a strategy that “truly reflects” West Kelowna’s interests.”

A consultant was recently asked to examine the feasibility of creating a Westside economic development agency, separate from the long-established Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, based in Kelowna.

The proposed commission would also support economic progress in neighbouring Westside communities, City officials say.

Developers looking to get in on the ground floor will need a guiding hand navigating the real estate market. The Mayne Brothers have 40 years of combined real estate experience in the Okanagan region. They’ve witnessed the market fluctuations, highs, lows, and everything in between, so you know they know their stuff. Call them today at 250-860-0303.