Mayor not surprised Kelowna is in the midst of a housing boom

Housing boom no surprise

Kelowna's latest housing boom is a concern, but not a surprise to the city's mayor.

Colin Basran, himself a former realtor, says he understands the frustration shown by potential home buyers who continue to be shut out of the housing market. The benchmark price of a home in the Central Okanagan has risen $100,000 in just two months.

"Certainly price increases is one which is making it harder and harder for people to be able to afford to own a home in our community," said Basran during an interview with Castanet News.

"The other one is the situation in which people are entering the market in terms of having to write subject-free offers, people buying homes without even seeing them first. Basically, it's highest bidder wins.

"I can understand the frustration of buyers trying to get into the market, but I have to say this is not a Kelowna only issue, and this is not a metropolitan issue. This is happening in communities right across the country, large and small."

While all the questions as to why now have not been fully answered, Basran says he's not surprised Kelowna is in the midst of it.

"I think a lot of people around the country said OK, if I have to work from home where do I want to work at home from? I want to work in a community that has amazing amenities and is lifestyle focused, but still offers me the ability to connect with my employment. So, am I entirely surprised this is happening in Kelowna, no."

Unfortunately, Basran says there is not a lot the city, and city council is able to do on its own.

He says the city only has control over housing supply, which according to BC Real Estate Association chief economist Brendon Ogmundson, is one of the factors driving the boom.

In terms of housing supply, Basran says he thinks the city has, and is, doing a good job.

"What I can say is I am really proud here in the city of Kelowna when compared to other municipalities, we have a very good track record of getting approvals through the process in a timely manner in order to get that housing under construction and to market," said Basran.

With construction also booming across the city, Basran believes the city is doing everything it can on its own, but wonders whether it's enough.

"Are we going to be able to build our way out of this, that's the question? I'm not sure we are going to be able to. But, I'll tell you, it's disheartening for a lot of buyers who are seeing the affordability factor in this community quickly slipping away, and perhaps them looking elsewhere. We don't want them looking elsewhere, but that may be the sad reality."

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