How Is Luxury Real Estate in Kelowna Affected by the Low Loonie?


The dropping loonie has caused a shift in the Kelowna luxury real estate market, with new types of investors showing interest as a result.

A low Canadian dollar and floundering oil prices have many people wondering what effect this is having on luxury real estate in Kelowna. While it’s true that Alberta oil fueled a fair bit of the high-end sales activity in the Okanagan before it crashed, current conditions have caused a shift in the market, rather than a halt.

Here is a look at some of the current trends our Kelowna realtors are noticing as a result of the dropping loonie.

1. Accelerated Retirement Plans

The recent slump in Alberta oil has affected many people. However, for those who are close to retirement and have banked sufficient wealth to invest in luxury real estate, the oil crash has provided them with the incentive to leave early.

For many, the thought of enduring another tumultuous boom-and-bust cycle is just too much. As a result, what was once a three-to-five-year retirement plan for some has turned into a one-year plan.

2. Foreign Investor Interest

While many Canadians might not view the sinking loonie as a good thing, there are many Americans (and other foreigners) interested in the opportunities available north of the 49th parallel in terms of:

  • Tourism
  • Real estate
  • Other investment opportunities 

The Okanagan already receives its fair share of foreign interest in real estate, but the cheap dollar could help fuel that even more.

3. Snowbirds Nesting at Home

When the loonie was hovering around (or above) parity in 2011-12, it was a good time for Canadian retirees to invest in vacation homes in places like Arizona. Not only was the price of real estate affordable, but the sky-high dollar made the cost of living there a lot less.

Fast-forward four short years and it’s the exact opposite. The exchange rate, which is sitting below the historic average of 72 cents, eats up a good chunk of our buying power. 

As a result, many of these Canadian retirees are looking to invest in luxury real estate in Kelowna and elsewhere in the Okanagan.

An Emphasis on Waterfront

Of the luxury properties in Kelowna, investors appear keen to invest in waterfront homes of late. Prime waterfront properties in the Okanagan (as well as properties with stunning views) tend to be a secure investment that holds their value.

Spillover from Vancouver

Vancouver real estate is red-hot at the moment. In a time when townhouses are selling for upwards of $1 million in some areas, residents are starting to look elsewhere.

If you happened to invest in Vancouver property before the market took off, you’d have a sizeable down payment towards luxury real estate in Kelowna once your home sells.

Are you looking to invest in luxury real estate in the Okanagan? At Quincy Vrecko & Associates, we have the experience and local knowledge to help you find high-end properties to suit your lifestyle. Call us to discuss your real estate goals.