KELOWNA – It was a slow start in the real estate market this year, but in the last few months the Central Okanagan has seen a significant rise in properties sold. Experts say with the local economy growing, paired with low unemployment rates and a growing community, the housing market is hot.
“The city is changing. It’s growing with new people, the university has had such an impact and the vacancy rates are below one percent now. It’s hard to find rentals, it’s hard to find homes,” says Randy Shier, President of Mission Group Homes.
Shier says there’s a new trend of buyers in the area, and it’s a group that’s heated up the market in Vancouver.
“What we’re seeing new in this market that we’ve never seen before, we’re actually selling to Chinese buyers from mainland China and Chinese buyers from Vancouver,” says Shier.
According to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board, more than a thousand residential properties were sold in the first quarter of the year, up almost 27 percent over the same period last year.
“It’s extremely active, we can’t keep thing in inventory and things are moving real quick and puts us right into a seller’s market. The market has been active for about a year but we really noticed it since January that things have pushed up,” says Joanne Willmott, a Kelowna real estate agent.
With an insurgent of people moving to the interior, experts expect the market to continue to flourish as long as interest rates stay low.