What is the Real Estate Market Like in Kelowna?

As of this writing I can confidently say that the real estate market here in Kelowna has started to cool down from the crazy highs that we saw in 2021.

Last year was arguably the hottest real estate market Kelowna has ever experienced with every segment of the market seeing double digit increases in pricing.

For instance, the single family home price in Kelowna in 2021 rose by 32% year over year, sales were up 21% and inventory in the Central Okanagan fell by 38%.

The condo market saw similar gains in pricing moving up by 28%, sales went up by 64% (condos became the affordable alternative to single family for some) and inventory dropped by almost 50 points at 48.5%.

The townhouse market was busy, but comparatively speaking, not as hot as the other two segments with pricing up 26%, sales up by 13% and inventory down by 51%. The lack of inventory is what didn’t allow for a massive increase in sales compared to the other two segments.

What’s Happening in Kelowna in 2022?

If you believe everything you read you are probably looking to sell everything and head for a cabin in the woods to wait out the financial armageddon that is coming for us all.

I don’t believe that to be the case for Kelowna, demand has dropped off but is still strong for this part of the Okanagan. The big issue for Kelowna real estate right now is supply, there is just not enough land for developers to build single family homes on.

Now that said, Kelowna’s city council has no problem approving massive downtown multi-family developments. At my last count there will be 43 new developments coming in the next 2-5 years that will change the Kelowna skyline forever.

If you’re into condo living, there should be plenty of product to choose from over time. If you are looking for a single family, like 3,333 people did in 2021 the options will continue to be limited due to geographical constraints.

So the big question, is the real estate market in Kelowna about to go bust?

I think there could be a bit of a correction coming in the next 12-24 months, but the market busting in my opinion would be a drop of between 10-20% in one year. Even during the financial collapse of 2007/2008 we didn’t see numbers drop to that degree.

Kelowna Housing and Economic Statistics

The largest employer in the Central Okanagan is the health care industry, so basically, government. The second largest employment sector is the wholesale and retail trade sector. 

For those outside of the Kelowna area you might be surprised that the mining, forestry and oil & gas sectors only account for about 2100 jobs.

The population in the Kelowna area has grown by just under 3% in the last year with the majority of the population being between the ages of 15-64 (65.25%). The 65+ demographic accounts for 21.5% and kids (0-14) round us out at 13.25% of the population.

The majority of sales that happened in the Central Okanagan were within the ‘board area’ which means the trades that were happening were people that were selling their homes here and buying a different home.

Approximately 29% of the home purchases in the Kelowna area were by other BC residents, 6% came from Alberta and 3% were from out of the country.

What is Driving the Real Estate Market in Kelowna?

Now that the scene is set, the answer to the question for people purchasing here out of the area, out of the province or out of the country continues to be a lifestyle change or property investment.

The people that are selling and buying within our area are either a lateral purchase (19%), a move up purchase (12%) and downsize (13%) or first time buyers (19%). These types of sales will continue to happen regardless of what the market is doing.

With housing starts down (lack of inventory) and the ability to ‘work from anywhere’ phenomenon that happened through 2020 and into 2021, we saw massive stress on the housing market (low vacancy rate for rentals) and this is why prices took off.

As housing supply starts to improve (as mentioned earlier, condos will continue to drive the supply), interest rates continue to creep up and demand begins to wane, we will begin to see that correction.

In fact, I would say that has already started judging by the days on market and the amount of price corrections happening in the marketplace.

If you are thinking of investing in Kelowna, we should talk.

If you are thinking of listing your home in Kelowna and are looking for knowledge and marketing expertise, we should talk.


How to get a BC Drivers License After You Move to Kelowna


Getting Organized

One of the most frustrating things about moving to Kelowna, BC is having to deal with ICBC.

You will find this if you aren’t highly organized, keeping all your important papers where you can access them easily is key.

Not to say that we aren’t organized, but you don’t know what you don’t know.

Now, before you pack up your container or your moving truck, make sure to keep your Passport out along with your Marriage Certificate and if you have changed your name, make sure you have that documentation as well.


Because you won’t be able to get a license, registration or insure your vehicle.

All of this is important because you have 90 days to switch over your license and 30 days for your registration and insurance. If this isn’t done, you likely won’t be covered if you’re in an accident here in Kelowna.

Now some will say that you can get your vehicle registered and insurance BEFORE you get your driver’s license and that is certainly true.

Don’t do it.

Get your license first, then the others come after. The sole reason is cost, if you go get your new paperwork with your old provincial license, BC will look at you as a new driver.

Here in Kelowna, your insurance costs will go through the roof.

How to get the Ball Rolling

The first thing you need to do before you even make the move to BC is to apply for BC Health Care.

You can find that link here: Apply for Medical Services Plan for BC

It takes about 4 weeks for your health care number to be generated, once you have it you can get your photos done for the card during your appointment at ICBC to get your license sorted out.

The next step after you have your BC Health Care Card Number is to make that appointment at ICBC once you’ve made it here to Kelowna.

You can do that here: Make Your ICBC Appointment and select ‘D’ in that first drop down box.

Make sure to bring two pieces of ID to the appointment, your current provincial driver’s license and your Passport will do. If you are a spouse that changed their name, you will need the marriage certificate. Also bring with you your health care number, they will need proof that this has been done and issued.

They will take your photo and issue you your paper license, your BC Health Care Card will be in the mail.

Registration and Insurance in Kelowna

Insurance in BC is administered by the government through ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia), there are autoplan providers that you can visit to get your insurance and registration for your vehicle.

But, before you do that you will need an out of province vehicle inspection if your vehicle is more than 4 years old. Do that BEFORE you go into the insurance company, they will require the paperwork when you go to register.

I’m not going to comment on insurance pricing, that is just far to subjective as it is based on driving history. Here is a great article with more information on registering your vehicle in Kelowna

Moving provinces is a daunting task, doing your research around a lot of these items is key to making that move smooth and successful.

You can do a lot of these things online prior to arriving here in Kelowna and if you need some help along the way, feel free to reach out. You can call or text 778-716-7527.


How to Move to Kelowna

Moving is Never Easy

Making a move is never an easy endeavour, it is especially difficult when you are not only moving to a new city but a new province.

Logistically speaking, it can be somewhat of a nightmare especially if you have a family to move and kids in school and jobs to find.

I’ve relocated provinces once and moved city’s twice, both times I was a young single guy just looking for new scenery and better opportunity.

Having relocated my entire family to Kelowna recently, I am here to share with you some of the things that we learned along the way with the hopes that this information comes readily available and you don’t have to search the interwebs too deeply for the information you seek.

What Areas Should You be Looking in?

Kelowna is actually spread out, in fact the total area of the city is 211 square kilometers with a population of around 142,000 in the city proper, excluding all of the out lying areas.

When choosing which part of the city to live in, I suggest (if you have kiddos) to start with school catchment, here is a link to all of School District 23’s school catchment maps. Understanding what areas feed into what schools from Elementary to Middle to High School is important, we found that different schools in Kelowna offer different options to the kids from sports to trades to the arts.

Once you have the catchment figured out it’s time to identify the areas that you would be interested in living in. Part of that decision making process will come down to age of the area and the age of the home that you want to be in. This will also be dictated by your price point.

Keep in mind that locals say, “It takes 15 minutes to get anywhere in Kelowna” which is mostly true. You may have also heard that the ‘bridge’ (the one spanning the lake and connecting West Kelowna to Kelowna proper) can be a nightmare at rush hour. If you’re relocating from Ontario or from the lower mainland or even larger cities in Alberta (Edmonton, Calgary…sorry Red Deer!) you may not think an extra 5-10 minutes on to your commute is a big deal.

I know I don’t.

If you know you’ll be going south a lot, then perhaps the other side of the bridge is the way to go.

If you know you’ll be working in Vernon, then perhaps the north part of the city like Glenmore, Wilden, University District or even Lake Country would be a good way to go. I met a family a couple of years ago that lives in The Lakes community in Lake Country, he works downtown Kelowna and she works in Vernon, LC was literally the half way point for both of them.

What Else is There to Organize?

Below is an email that I sent recently to a client that is looking to relocate from Ontario to Kelowna, there is some good info here.

Here are a few resources you are going to need to look at once you get out to Kelowna, some things you can do beforehand as well:

  1. If you haven’t had a look at this already, you should, it’s a cost of living calculator:

  2. I’m not sure about Ontario, but I can tell you that both Alberta and BC do not have health care premiums. You will need to get you and the family registered, much easier once you have an address, here’s the link:

  3. For Drivers License you have 90 days to flip it over to a BC license and for your insurance and registration on your vehicles you have 30 days. This can only be done in person at an ICBC office, you will need a Passport and your Ontario drivers license in order to get it switched over, here’s the link: 

  4. Vehicle Insurance is done through an insurance broker in BC, there is only one insurance provider and that is ICBC, but there are many brokers that can get you set up with your insurance and registration. I don’t have anyone there yet, but once I do I will share them with you, for now here is a Google Search you can check out.

  5. Here is the school catchment maps link, it will tell you which areas feed in to which schools:

  6. I have found that joining Kelowna Facebook groups as being a valuable resource, if you want a good laugh, make sure you join Kelowna Rant and Rave! Seriously though, search for the Wilden, Dilworth, Glenmore groups along with the Kelowna Hiking Group if you like to be outdoors this is a never ending supply of things to do and places to see.

  7. Moving: Look at Big Steel Box or Secure Rite if you are going to be looking at transporting across the country or across the province. Far cheaper than getting movers and doing a move with a semi.

I know that I could go on and on, here’s what I will leave you with:

  • Make sure you know the market, how it’s moving and what to expect relative to what you are selling in your home town.

  • Travel out to Kelowna a few times to get a feel for the community, make sure to take a trip in the summer and in the winter

  • If you don’t know where you want to be, then find a rental for the first 6-8 months, explore and determine where you want to live

  • Connect with an Agent that has gone through all of this before, they can be your best guide through this transition.

For more information on the Kelowna market feel free to drop me a line at 778-716-7527 or shoot me an email to have a conversation about your impending move.

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