The housing market that allowed potential buyers to stroll around a new development and check out the finished product has long left Kelowna.
Buyers who want to get in on the ground floor pricing of a new development are often writing a cheque based off of an artist’s rendering of what the development will one day look like.
It’s a predominant change that highlights the lack of housing inventory in a blossoming city like Kelowna.
“With the housing crash of 2008 there were many new developments that unfortunately were just completed or under construction, which meant there was a lot of inventory in the market that needed to be absorbed,” said Rob Hager, President of Tactx Project Sales and Marketing.
“Moving forward to 2014, there were signs that things were getting better but there was no inventory in the market in terms of new homes and there weren't any new projects being introduced.”
Slowly, the city’s real estate market began to improve with the help of low-interest levels and consumer confidence began to rise.
Since that time, new developments have been popping up all over the city recording fast sales before potential buyers can even walk into the finished building.
Speaking with Leonard Kerkhoff of Kerkhoff Construction, their project 1151 Sunset on Kelowna’s Water Street has seen an excellent response even while still being in the building phase.
“Currently we’re at level 10, so construction is now halfway up the structure and we've sold 85 of 109 units and within three to four months at maximum we should be sold out,” said the project’s manager Kerkhoff.
The 1151 Sunset project went on sale just after Thanksgiving, which means over 75% of units have sold in six months.
“About a quarter of our buyers are coming from the Vancouver market, but there's also buyers coming from Calgary and Toronto but the bulk of buyers are from the Kelowna area,” said Kerkhoff, who credits Kelowna’s popular lifestyle and still attainable housing prices for the projects popularity.
1151 Sunset is certainly not the only housing project in the city seeing great sales even before the roof has been finished on the building.
Cambridge house on the corner of Ethel and Harvey has sold out the development while still in the construction phase.
“Public interest grew really quickly after we started marketing Cambridge House in June 2016 and when the project went to sale last September we sold 170 units right away and the remaining units sold out in April,” said Hager.
"There’s a movement in Kelowna towards smaller more efficient residences, it reflects housing trends in Toronto, Vancouver, and big cities where houses have gotten smaller but more efficient.”
It reflects a housing trend that is seeing home buyers going smaller, but also buying higher up in apartment buildings.
The latest results from Statistics Canada's 2016 census were released on Wednesday and an interesting trend highlighted by the census is the changing landscape of where Kelowna’s population is choosing to live.
According to Statistics Canada, there was a 42% increase in five-plus storey apartment living in Kelowna between 2011 to 2016.
Sopa Square, the 14 storey building in the Pandosy Village is still under construction and has already sold 95% of the building's units.
Earlier this week on May 2nd, Kelowna City Council unanimously approved Mission Group’s application to rezone the 6.15 acre site in the Mission Creek neighborhood to make way for the creation of Aqua, a residential community which plans to be a 350 unit high rise development on Lakeshore Road.
It’s a sign that Kelowna, long a wide open agricultural hub, is in the midst of transitioning towards densifying its housing market and becoming an urban first center.