Lifestyle changes driving Okanagan real estate buying frenzy - InfoNews

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Lifestyle changes driving Okanagan real estate buying frenzy

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July 30, 2020 - 7:30 AM

With the doom and gloom of COVID-19, Kelowna realtor Paul Cluff wasn’t sure what would happen with the local housing market.

Before life ground to a halt, the market had been going strong but he wasn’t sure if that would carry on after physical distancing measures had been lifted. He was surprised to see conditions take off in recent weeks, with a number of his peers saying they’re having record-breaking sales.

They also are saying that many changes are being driven by major shifts in lifestyle brought on by the pandemic.

“In other parts of the country the real estate markets haven’t been so good but in Kelowna, the situation with COVID-19 has made it more desirable,” Cluff said. “So many people are saying they want to make changes and change is a real estate driver.”

One of them is working from home. Around the globe, people’s work-life has merged with their home life as quarantines came down and Cluff said for a place like Kelowna, it’s a major factor.

“If that’s a long-term thing it will be a game changer for Kelowna,” he said.

“People come here because they want the lifestyle and people leave because they can’t support it. Now you don’t have to live in Vancouver to work there — that will give you a more sustainable economy.”

The business model change is reflected even in the local economy. In a recent interview, Accelerate Okanagan's CEO Brea Lake said the area’s larger tech companies were continuing work-from-home models throughout the summer and smaller ones are giving up their leases altogether.

In turn, there was a spike in its rentable co-working space.

The other change Cluff is hearing from clients is that the pandemic accelerated retirement plans.

“I’ve had clients from Vancouver say, ‘we were going to do this in the next while but we’re going to do it now,'”  he said.

While Kelowna sales have been strong, it's his peers in the South Okanagan that are really having a strong year.

A recent call to iNFOnews from a Vancouver man indicates that it's not the best time to be a buyer.

Describing how he bid on a house at full price, only to be ignored and lose the bid, called it "a buying frenzy."

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