The current real estate market in the Okanagan is booming and at an all-time high. Following the largest luxury home sale in the Okanagan, we asked our luxury expert Quincy Vrecko what this means for luxury homes.
Quincy, in your opinion, how is the current market affecting luxury home sales?
The average day on market has dropped substantially, so instead of luxury homes taking perhaps a year to sell, they’re selling within 3 or 4 months. This is because there is a lot more pent-up demand. Because of that demand, we’ve seen prices notch up, and we’re also seeing multiple offers situations which is something we haven’t seen in the luxury market before.
With this high demand, what are the key things people look for in a luxury home?
The first thing people look for is lake views, that’s a big one. Swimming pools are also a big point for people coming from Alberta or the Lower Mainland. Additionally, people look for a three-car garage, privacy, and of course like anything else: location. Those are the biggest key factors in the search for a luxury home. Of course, the finish and quality of the build, a reputable builder, and similar homes surrounding them is really what defines that luxury market.
Where is that market coming from? Local? Out of town?
Right now, the biggest push we’re seeing for luxury home sales has been from the Lower Mainland, where people have been able to sell their homes for a fair bit of money, which allows them more freedom coming up to the Okanagan. In the last 2 months, we’ve also seen a push coming from Alberta, which hasn’t happened in quite some time because of the slowing of their economy. But with the housing market doing quite well in Alberta and the housing market doing well in the Lower Mainland, this is what I call the perfect trifecta: We’ve got 2 large markets, with populations of 4 to 5 million, feeding into the Kelowna market driving the values up.
What do you think is the future of luxury home sales?
The future of luxury home sales, from a listing point of view, is strongly affected by things getting more technologically advanced. Virtual reality and 3D have been playing a huge role in today’s market. Not just because of COVID-19, but because the buyers are becoming savvier, and more comfortable with technology. Floor plans and layouts are a very big drive in the luxury market right now. Going forward, as far as the luxury market goes, waterfront is going to be a big push. As they’re not making any more, people’s options and choices are very limited. And, like everything else, it’s going to be about the location, lake views, the fit and finish and automation of the homes, garage space, and that’s what’s going to continue to drive that luxury market in the future. When it comes to where people are going to be coming from, I think we’re still going to see a very strong push from the Lower Mainland. We’re seeing Alberta, as I mentioned, but we’re also seeing Toronto starting to push this market, whether it be vacation homes or retirement homes. With everything that’s happened in the world, with COVID-19, people’s habits and how they’re working has really changed. This has allowed people the freedom to move from these larger centers to smaller centers such as Kelowna, as they don’t have to go to an office and they can work from home.