UDI Okanagan: What Lies Ahead for the Development Industry in 2019?

At the recent sold-out UDI Okanagan event, “What Lies Ahead for the Development Industry in the Okanagan in 2019”, our Vice President of Intelligence and keynote speaker, Andrew Ramlo, shared his insights on the landscape of economic and demographic change affecting the Central Okanagan residential real estate market. Additionally, Andrew explored the factors exerting the greatest influence on the region's housing market, and to what extent these factors will mirror or differ from those in past years.

Key highlights
  • 2018 was another down year for residential real estate in the Okanagan region: 2018 sales were 21% below 2017, which themselves were 13% below 2016, However, 2016 was an all-time high for sales in the region.
  • Prices crested mid-year before falling by 15% by the end of 2018, though average prices are 7% higher than they were 24 months ago.
  • Given these trends, the region’s real estate market is normalizing back towards historical averages, and into balanced market conditions. This will result in moderation of any price increases through 2019.
  • Much of the recent changes in market conditions have largely been driven by policy changes (locally, provincially, and nationally) and not by economic circumstances.
  • Looking forward, while the economic fundamentals look good, some headwinds do exist, ranging from generally slower economic growth to trade wars south of the border, and political challenges with China.
Industry opinions
Attendees of UDI Okanagan were polled for their thoughts on the region's housing market. With 178 respondents, here were their answers. 
  • The majority, 39% believe policy changes or change in government will be the biggest factor moving the market in 2019, vs. interest rates (10%), broad economic factors including jobs, employment rates, and political turmoil (22%), local economic factors including jobs, migration, supply of new units (23%), and other (6%).   
  • The majority, 54% felt that townhomes will be the best performing property class in 2019, vs. apartment (25%), and detached (21%).
  • The majority, 50% felt, in the year ahead, that prices are likely to decline, vs. increase (11%), remain the same (35%), and other (4%).

Our rennie intelligence division empowers individuals, organizations, and institutions with data-driven market insight and analysis. Experts in urban land economics, community planning, shifting demographics, and real estate trends, their strategic research supports a comprehensive advisory service offering and forms the basis of frequent reports and public presentations. Their thoughtful and objective approach truly embodies the core values of rennie.