Just like the real estate market in the Okanagan, the development and construction business is also breaking records.
Kelowna has now surpassed $1 billion in value of building permits issued for the year.
In fact, so far this year, Kelowna has nearly doubled the 10-year average of $555 million — with over two months left in 2021.
“As of yesterday, the total building construction value is over $1 billion. To be exact, it’s $1 billion and $66 million,” said Mo Bayat, City of Kelowna’s director of development services.
West Kelowna is also experiencing a similar trend.
It has topped $170 million for the year, where the five-year average is around $94 million.
“We are substantially above the five-year average and any subsequent year doesn’t even come close,” said West Kelowna city councillor Rick de Jong.
“We live in a very desirable part of the country and I get it. I live in West Kelowna, too.”
There are many contributing factors to the development surge in the area — namely, rising construction costs.
But officials say the two main factors are the desire for people to live in the Okanagan and employment opportunities.
“Twenty years ago we didn’t have the YLW, UBC, IHA (one of the largest employers), the hospital, high tech and so forth. The list goes on. People want to live and work here,” said Bayat.
Looking ahead, the two city officials say they expect the growth to continue.
“I project that next year construction and development activity will be comparable to this year if not greater,” Bayat told Global News on Friday.
They say officials will be monitoring the stresses on infrastructure closely as the population continues to grow.