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Central Okanagan the third star in B.C. real estate game

January 02, 2018 - 8:00 PM

OKANAGAN - If it wasn’t for the Lower Mainland and its crazy housing market, the property value increases in the Central Okanagan would be a bigger news story than it is.

“The increase has been been very positive this year, the strongest of the last three years,” B.C. Assessment senior assessor Tracy Wall says. “Victoria and Kelowna are the most desirable after the Lower Mainland then the values start to dwindle in the smaller towns.”

Wall says increases for 2018 range from six to 17 per cent, with no decreases throughout the entire Okanagan region, which runs from Sicamous in the north, down to the U.S. border and as far west as Princeton.

That compares favourably with 2016 when several communities saw their average values drop.

Lake Country is actually the star of the Okanagan, edging out Kelowna by $2,000 with the highest average property value of $727,000 and are the only two communties in the Okanagan with average values higher than $700,000.

(By comparison, the average house price in the City of Victoria is $779,000, up 15 per cent from 2016 while in Vancouver the price for the average East Vancouver home is up  just one per cent this year to $1,350,900.)

Wall says residential properties in the bedroom community jumped 16 per cent last year and 17 per cent for 2018.

“We only had one large increase last year and Lake Country was it,” Wall says. “Lake Country was the hot spot.”

Still, there’s no denying Kelowna’s place in the province’s hot housing market.

“Certainly the Kelowna market has seen a lot of construction in the last year which is an indicator of a strong real estate market,” Wall says.

Over $2.5 billion of the region's updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and rezoning of properties, much of it in the Central Okanagan.

Strata properties also had steady growth in their value in the three Okanagan markets where they are measured, trending around the same as their single detached counterparts.

Strata values increased by an average of 16 per cent in Kelowna, 15 per cent in Penticton and 12 per cent in Vernon.

“It doesn’t matter what people are buying, the prices (for strata and single family) are moving quite similarly,” Wall adds.

Overall, the Okanagan's total assessments increased from $98 billion in 2017 to $119 billion this year, Wall says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email John McDonald or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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