Real Estate Demand in the Okanagan

How does Kelowna's real estate market fair within Canada? Demand in the Okanagan seems to be at all-time high with the working class shifting to working from home, therefore, being able to work anywhere in the world. People across the country are searching for alternative places to live; whether it’s for the lifestyle, weather, or just the fact that BC has had a better go with Covid restrictions than our counterparts in the East. In the spirit of Canada Day, this week I am looking at other real estate markets in Canada and comparing to our very own here in the Okanagan. The focus is based on markets that have similar population sizes, so we can see how we compare. The Okanagan is not the only real estate market to experience strong demand and a shortage of listings. It might be safe to assume that pretty well every real estate market in North America if not the world is currently experiencing it. However, what might make the Okanagan different and continue to withstand the strong demand is the outside demand (buyers outside the Central Okanagan) that is eating up the inventory that is out there. With shortage of supply, it is really tough to know what the true sale numbers would be. Comparing the Central Okanagan to other real estate markets out there this week I am taking a look at other real estate markets that have relatively the same population. Buyer habits have changed, employees no longer being tied to the downtown offices is affecting the big cities who are seeing people move out of the downtown condos to find a home and some yard space. For the purpose of this blog I am just looking at 2 other real estate markets, one being the Kitchener-Waterloo real estate market which according to Google has a 2017 population of around 355,888 and the second market in Saskatoon that had a 2017 population of 273,010. Comparing those with the Okanagan Valley real estate market which had a 2017 population of 362, 258 according to Google. As the population is based on the census numbers, it would be interesting to compare more accurate information on how each city has changed since 2017. Looking at the three real estate markets only in May of 2021 and comparing the overall markets stats with one another, Kitchener-Waterloo saw 854 total sales which works out to 0.240% of sales per person. The Saskatoon market saw total sales of 576 and despite having a smaller population saw a very similar sales per person of 0.211%. In the Okanagan (including Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, Shuswap/Revelstoke) for May there was a total of 984 sales which works out to 0.272% of sales per person. Taking a look at these overall numbers, which is not perfect and limited as I only have ran the numbers for one month of the year, I do believe they tell a bit of a story that initially confirms the suspicion that the Okanagan continues to grow and there is currently strong demand. When comparing the total number of sales with the population size, it gives a baseline and something to compare, assuming everything else is equal. If you want to take it to the next step and start testing the theory that buyers are moving out of the big cities to smaller cities. In Vancouver for May 2021 they saw 4,268 sales with a sales per person ratio of 0.173% and Toronto where there was 11,951 sales and a sale ratio of 0.202% per person. Comparing the total number of sales with the size of the population, in May the Okanagan saw the highest ratio out of the 5 markets. Again not perfect as naturally with higher prices you will see fewer homeowners and fewer people able to enter the market, however, that is where assuming everything else being equal comes into play.

Have a great week and feel free to reach out! -Mark