Is There a Housing Affordability Crisis in Kelowna, BC?

Is There a Housing Affordability Crisis in Kelowna, BC?

What you need to know about the proposed changes to Kelowna Single Family Zoning, as well, I address the elephant in the room…the Housing Affordability Crisis here in Kelowna.

Having lived in Calgary for 18 years and in real estate for 14 of those 18, I saw a lot of shifts taking place in the housing market.

Probably the biggest shift, fundamentally, was embracing this idea of growing up and not out.

The idea was to try and control urban sprawl by adjusting bylaws to allow for carriage homes, secondary suites and infills being built on larger lots.

It is looking like Kelowna is going to embrace this ideology as well.

But mostly for different reasons.

It is in part to control urban sprawl, I mean realistically, our geography already kind of controls that.

It’s not like there’s endless prairie to build in, mountains and lakes kind of restrict the option for sprawl.

So city planners are looking for different ways to increase density and affordable housing opportunities.

Changes to Kelowna Zoning Bylaws

Back in September of 2022 the city of Kelowna made some changes to the zoning bylaw, which included 6 main points.

They are: 

  1. Consolidate zones

  2. Consolidate land-use categories

  3. Update building height regulations

  4. Allow Towers and mid-rise buildings in Capri-Landmark Centre

  5. Simplify the density bonusing policy

  6. Provide a more streamlined, modernized, and user-friendly policy

As you can see from this infographic, the city has made some fairly significant changes to how different zones in the city are classified.

One of the changes here will have a direct effect on residents living in Rutland, Glenmore and the central part of the city, so think Kelowna North and Kelowna South.

This quote is straight from the infographic and it reads with respect to density:

“Sensitive infill in residential areas and greater densification within Urban Centres and along transit corridors are being expanded in the new bylaw”

Also, according to the city’s housing policy manager, James Moore:

“This kind of initiative is going to mean that we see more construction around us, we're going to be seeing carriage houses coming up, second houses coming up. And the plan is to open up the regulations so that these changes can happen without the risk, delay and expense for property owners to go through the rezoning process.”

Ok, so here’s how I read this.

There will be more secondary suites.

There will be more carriage houses.

There will be infills which will include duplexes and potentially fourplexes and maybe even sixplexes.

There may even be secondary homes on the same lot as the primary home.

This will all lead to greater density, putting further stress on infrastructure that is already stressed to the max.

What Does the City of Kelowna Need to do to Curb Infrastructure Issues?

I don’t have any problem with increasing density, but the city of Kelowna has to move away from the last 8 years of insufficient planning and plan the infrastructure first before increasing density.

Otherwise all you are going to do is piss off existing residents even more than they already will be with the increasing density in their neighbourhoods.

The traffic here can already get pretty bad especially in the summertime, the city needs to address these issues prior to building more homes.

And sorry, more bike lanes just aren't going to cut it.

If you live in these areas where they are going to be testing these new zoning bylaws out, Glenmore, Rutland and Kelowna’s core, know that you are going to see an increase in traffic and likely less street parking.

If you are looking for your first home, if you are looking to relocate to Kelowna or are looking to downsize, one of these new style home might be an affordable option.

At least, that is what the city is shooting for here, to make owning a home here in Kelowna attainable.

Tough to do when you don’t have a lot of land to build new homes on thereby increasing housing starts and supply.

That’s all I have for you. 

If you live in West Kelowna, Kelowna, Lake Country or Peachland and are thinking of making a move, then we should talk.

Give me a call at 778-716-7527 or shoot me an email to


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