Kelowna, and with it the Central Okanagan, has the fastest-growing population in Canada, posting a 14 per cent increase from 2021 to 2026, according to Statistics Canada.

With 224,000 people, the city of Kelowna has twice the population of Nanaimo, Kamloops or Prince George as the second-largest B.C. city outside of the Lower Mainland.

The broader Thompson-Okanagan region is currently growing at about 1.6 per cent per year, hitting 620,000 in 2021 and adding roughly 10,000 new residents annually.

Judging by real estate development being launched this spring the regional population will continue to accelerate, providing the current residential downturn proves shallow and brief. It is housing, after all, that is driving the real estate market across the Okanagan, but residential sales have slowed recently.

In May, total Okanagan home sales were down 28.5 per cent from a year earlier, though the average price increased nearly 10 per cent, year-over-year to $785,600, according to the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA).

The BCREA is now forecasting that Okanagan home sales will drop 19 per cent this year, from 2021, and fall a further 14.8 per cent in 2023, with home prices eking out just 1.3 per cent increase that year compared to 2022.

May sales across the Okanagan slid down only 1.2 per cent compared to April, noted Lyndi Cruickshank, president of the Association of Interior Realtors, which she said reflects the market’s stability.

 

The mantra in the Okanagan real estate community is that a lack of supply has helped to stifle sales and keep prices rising. This year should test that theory, if all the current projects proceed.

One of the largest is Greata Ranch, a 46-acre lakefront parcel near Summerland between Kelowna and Penticton along Highway 97. On the development radar for more than a decade, the property has now been extended with the addition of 28 adjacent waterfront acres, the Butler family lands.

The entire 74 acres is now being marketed as a single parcel for mixed-use with a residential emphasis, according to Stephen Webber, associate vice-president of Colliers International.

The price will be decided by bids submitted by potential buyers on the vendor’s “form of offer.”

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Hazelview Investments paid $332,075 per unit for CX, a 212-unit rental property that ranked as Edmonton's top apartment deal in the first quarter.

Edmonton’s investment market is gathering momentum as the economy reopens post-COVID.

The first quarter of 2022 saw investment transactions increase 19 per cent versus a year ago to $682 million on a volume of 177 transactions, according to new Altus Group data. This was a significant acceleration from growth in all of 2021, when aggregate deal value increased just 2 per cent.

However, the volume of transactions was down 12%, largely due to the surge in transactions at the beginning of 2021 as deals deferred by the pandemic came to completion. The actual number of transactions has held steady for three quarters at 177, give or take a deal.

Multifamily rental properties dominated activity, accounting for the largest segment of sales by value at 39 per cent as well as the strongest growth in the quarter.

 

The aggregate value of apartment sales in the quarter was $263.4 million, up 122 per cent from a year ago. The top deal, according to Altus data, was the $81-million sale of CX at 10022 110th Street NW.

CX is a newly constructed 212-unit apartment building that sold to Hazelview Investments at a price of $332,075 per unit, the highest per-unit sale price achieved in Edmonton since the The Mayfair on Jasper ($420,168) and Chartwell Emerald Hills ($468,750) sold in January 2020.

The second most-valuable asset class was industrial, with deals totalling $183.7 million the quarter, up 5 per cent from a year ago. However, with little available product, investment activity dropped from recent quarters.

The second-strongest growth occurred in the retail market, which claimed a smaller share of transaction value at $78.3 million, or just 11 per cent of the total. The aggregate value of transactions was up 50 per cent, while number of transactions totalled 23, up marginally from a year ago.

The weakest segments of the investment market were office, hotel and land for institutional, commercial and industrial (ICI) projects.

ICI land was the third-most active asset class in terms of both deals completed (46) and value (slightly less than $83 million) in the first quarter of 2022, but volume was down 13 per cent and value fell 34 per cent versus a year earlier.

Office transaction value was “anemic” at just $25.9 million, posting the largest decrease of any asset class versus a year earlier at 54 per cent.

Nevertheless, overall capitalization rates compressed across all asset classes, Altus reported, pointing to the return of investor confidence to the Edmonton market.

“A rebound in energy prices combined with an improvement in the province’s economic fortunes associated with the winding down of COVID-19 restrictions have led purchasers to increasingly see value and transact in an Edmonton market where investor confidence is on the rise,” Altus Group said, forecasting continued improvement through the remained of 2022. “[It] is likely to continue this trajectory as the province’s economic fortunes start to recover and the region’s affordability combined with improving employment outlook serves to draw people to the city.”


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