There is now plenty of data to back up Kelowna’s burgeoning reputation as a Zoom town.
According to a study conducted by LinkedIn’s Economic Graph research team, Kelowna is No. 1 among Canadian metropolitan centres when it comes to people applying for remote positions.
LinkedIn examined 12 million remote job applications on its platform between May 2022 and May 2023, and it found 49.4% of all applications made by Kelowna residents were for paid remote postings in Canada. Victoria was second on the list at 45.6%.
The term “Zoom town” became popular during the COVID-pandemic, as it is a community that experiences a significant population increase due to an influx of remote workers. Kelowna proved to be a popular destination if it didn’t matter where you lived and your remote job offered a decent wage.
LinkedIn interviewed Jessica Weisz, who works in tech entrepreneurship and venture capital. She stopped working in-person in Toronto during the pandemic and moved to Niagara, Ont., and then to Kelowna.
“What we were optimizing for was sunshine,” Weisz told LinkedIn. “I had never been to Kelowna. I knew nothing about it. We came and saw the place that we could rent …
“You could see the mountains and the lake, it had a pool, and it was massive, and it was the same as rent for our little small loft in Toronto.”
Kelowna has Zoom town status despite its rising cost of living. Association of Interior Realtors data shows the benchmark price for a single-family home in the Central Okanagan has increased nearly $400,000 since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
In addition, the average asking price for a two-bedroom rental unit in Kelowna has increased more than $700 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Castanet classifieds data.