Kelowna vs. Vernon: Which City is Better to Live in?
About two months ago I shot a video talking about the differences between living in Calgary and Kelowna.
At this point it seems like that video is pretty popular with just over 1200 views.
So I thought I would shoot a video that is a little closer to home and one that those moving to the Okanagan would actually consider to be a little more relevant.
So which is it? Vernon or Kelowna? Which city is better to invest and to live in?
Let’s get after it. Welcome to LiveLoveKelowna
The BIG difference between Vernon and Kelowna is the size.
Vernon’s population according to 2021 census data sits at 44,519. Kelowna on the other hand is quite a bit larger coming in at 144,000 and if you include West Kelowna in that you can add on another 36,000 to round it out to an even 180,000.
So what does that mean besides more people? Well it means more traffic. Bigger headaches when it comes to infrastructure. A big population jump during the summer months with all the tourists flooding the area.
But, it also means that with a larger population comes more amenities.
What Amenities are in Vernon and Kelowna?
For example, there are two Home Depots in Kelowna and West Kelowna. Kelowna has the ONLY Costco in the southern interior. You have greater access to more variety in shopping, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters etc, etc, etc.
So let’s jump into what the similarities are.
First off, both communities are like a 24/7/365 playground for the outdoor enthusiasts regardless of the seasons. Both areas offer multiple golf courses, places to hike, fish and camp as well as the opportunities to explore wineries, cideries and craft breweries.
Of course both cities are nestled up against a couple of lakes you may have heard of like Lake Okanagan?
Winter time brings you skiing adventures at Silver Star near Vernon and Big White which is a 45 minute drive from Kelowna. The Spring months get going right around the same time so you’ll be able to really take advantage of the playground that is the Okanagan from early in the year!
What is the Cost of Living Like in Kelowna Versus Vernon?
Really what I’m talking about is the cost of housing, as we know groceries are going to be similar, gas prices are similar, insurance rates are similar.
So what would you pay for a single family home in Vernon?
Let’s look at some of the averages for the two communities.
Right now the benchmark price for a single family home in Vernon is sitting at $717,000. This includes the North Okanagan which would encompass areas like Armstrong, Coldstream, Enderby, Predator Ridge and everything in between.
As of the end of January 2023 there are 75 homes listed for sale under $730,000.
How does that compare to Kelowna you ask?
Same time frame, larger market, more homes typically for sale and there are 27 single family options under $730,000 in the Greater Kelowna Area.
The benchmark price for a single family home right now in Kelowna is quite a bit higher sitting at $1M 2 thousand 4 hundred dollars. This would include areas like Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna and Lake Country which make up the Central Okanagan.
It certainly seems that Vernon wins out on this comparison, smaller market, but 2.5 times the homes listed for sale in the same price bracket.
If affordability in housing is what you are looking for, then you will likely find it in Vernon.
What are the Demographics Like in Vernon Versus Kelowna?
If we go back to the census data and have a look at the age demographics of between 25 and 49, Kelowna’s population comes in at 47,885 or about 33% of the total population.
Vernon on the other hand has 7,710 residents in the same age bracket of 25-49 which represents about 17% of the total population of the city. The over 65 crowd for Vernon represents about 32.9% of the population and 24.7% for Kelowna.
So when we are comparing age demographics, Kelowna wins this round hands down, the data suggests that Kelowna is overall a younger city compared to Vernon.
There are a ton of similarities between the two cities, especially when it comes to the natural beauty and the plentiful activities that you can do outdoor all year round.
If you are trying to decide which community is going to be the best fit for you, if it were me I would ask myself these questions:
Do I want to be in a larger centre with greater access to different amenities or does size really matter?
Is the cost of housing one of the driving factors in my decision making process?
If I am in that 25-49 age bracket or the over 60 age demographic, which community makes more sense for me slash us to be a part of?
I want the residents of Vernon to know, I am certainly not bashing here by suggesting you can’t raise kids in Vernon because of the demographics. I have friends that have done just that.
All I am saying is that the data would suggest that there is a higher rate of retirees or people of retirement age living in Vernon versus Kelowna and this could be a consideration for some people when deciding where they are going to move to the Okanagan.
Alright, that’s all I have for you now, make sure to check out my video on the right side of your screen where I compare Kelowna to Calgary. There’s likely to be a whole series of these coming in the near future!
If you have any questions about making a move to the Okanagan or if you already live in Kelowna or West Kelowna, then we should talk. Give me a call at 778-716-7527 or shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org