Third quarter economic and tourism update shows 'strong year' for Vernon

Indicators looking good

A third quarter economic and tourism update to the City of Vernon indicates "a very strong year" for overnight visitation to the area.

Overnight visitation to Vernon, measured by the local hotel room tax, indicates "a very strong year with seven of eight months exceeding the previous five-year monthly average," the report states.

Through the end of August, more than $867,000 has been remitted to the city through the tax – nearly 94% of total revenue from the tax in 2021.

It's anticipated the tax will collect more than $1.1 million for the year, setting a new benchmark.

Through the end of August, accommodation providers are estimated to have generated more than $29 million in revenues, with a year-end estimate of more than $39 million. That's 9% higher than the previous record, set in 2017.

Meanwhile, the city's Development Approvals Working Group says it is hearing positive feedback on development permit processing times and communication.

The group says housing needs will continue to drive activity in the industry, and there is "increased interest in Vernon by institutional developers and investors who have the financial capacity to move forward on larger projects independent of interest rates."

The third quarter saw 42 building permits approved, bringing the annual total to 322.

This year has seen more multi-family projects and fewer single-family homes compared to previous years, the report states. "This shift has put 2022 on pace for a record-setting number of approved residential units."

Third quarter permit values totalled $61.37 million. Year to date, that value is more than $165 million.

The increase "can be attributed to a combination of inflationary pressures on construction costs (both materials and labour) as well as an increase in the number of multi-famiy permits that are generally higher in value per permit than single-family permits," the report adds.

Through the end of the third quarter, 392 residential units were approved for construction – exceeding the total units approved for construction in 2017, 2020, and 2021.

Higher density residential units (multi-family units and single family dwellings with suites) continue to outpace single family permits by more than two to one.

Overall real estate transaction volumes declined in the quarter, reflecting consumer caution as a result of interest rate hikes.

Job posting activity also tempered in the third quarter, following a peak of nearly 900 postings in July 2022.

But, despite the slowdown in hiring demand, the quarter averaged 666 job postings – an increase of 10% over the 2021 average of 598.

Both skilled and unskilled/unspecified posting volumes trended downward. However, postings that required some level of post-secondary training saw a much smaller reduction.

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