By: Jack Wolfe

With the current rising prices of real estate properties in the Okanagan, foreign buyers may start licking their lips at the relishing opportunity. As prices are rising further out of locals’ price range, foreigners seem to be establishing themselves as an important player for the future.

Since Vancouver imposed a 15% tax hike on real estate in the Lower Mainland back in 2016, it took a couple of years before a regulation was imposed across the rest of B.C. However, last week, on February 20th, the government announced there would be changes to laws surrounding property tax. The new bill increases the tax hike from 15% to 20%, and expanding it across B.C. and the increased revenue from this, estimated at $1.6 billion over three years, will be used to support housing initiatives. This is sure to impact the current housing market in the Okanagan, but won’t change prices immediately. With the cost of a home rising all the time across Kelowna due to demand increase, it is still unaffordable to move into a family-home for less than $1 million. The increased revenue will bring more housing opportunity in the long run, but there is still a struggle now to settle down, with people across the region are pleading for action to lower these current prices.

There needs no explanation seeing the attraction of moving to Canada’s west coast, with business opportunity, as well as sheer beauty, giving investors an extra push to settle in Kelowna. With people coming to the Okanagan looking to settle down, growth is almost surely set to follow and improve the region to a large extent. Although in Vancouver there has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the real estate market, it can’t be ignored that the region is flourishing enormously because of the increased investment.

Growth in the region would be widely accepted by local businesses and potentially provide opportunities for new markets establishing a hub in Kelowna, which would carry the economy to new heights. However it is important to understand how the market has transformed in the Lower Mainland, whether it be referred to as a bubble or simply a recent surge in demand for property. The Okanagan should welcome the attention and investment with open arms while keeping in mind the current situation in Vancouver.