Things to Consider Before Moving to Kelowna
Moving to Kelowna? Here's a few things to consider..
Kelowna is known for its hot, and beach worthy summers which are incredible! But there seems to be a false narrative around what winter is like here in Kelowna. Yes, it is mild compared to the rest of Canada and yes it is a very short season. But, we still get winter.
We get an extended fall that works its way into the end of November and when December comes around we typically get snow just in time for the holidays! For about a two week period at the end of December our temperatures hit the lowest that they go. Yes, we have seen temperatures in the -20s but it typically is short lived. January and February are mostly cloud covered, with light snow and rain scattered here and there. This is something that takes a little getting used to compared to sunshine filled winters in Alberta.
All in all, when you have access to great ways to get outdoors in the short lived season, such as Big White, snow shoeing, sledding or hiking- Winter seems to be a breeze.
Most would agree that forest fires represent a significant challenge for those residing in the Okanagan and for the majority of regions in British Columbia. Wildfires require a consistent set of conditions to take shape: an abundance of vegetation, scorching and arid conditions, and a source of ignition. Sadly in the year 2023, British Columbia experienced its most devastating wildfire season to date. It's an unfortunate reality that our region has to face annually.
While Kelowna does have a large retirment population.. it is also continuously named the fastest growing city in the province and within the top 5 fastest growing cities in all of Canada. People of all ages move here for so many reasons. Incredible schooling and post secondary institutes. Thriving business industries such as tech, healthcare, agriculture, tourism and trades. The city has seen an influx in young entrepreneurs, college and university students and families with young kids. On top of these booming industries,the Canadian Federation of Business has named Kelowna the top entrepreneurial friendly large city in Canada. People from all over the world come to the Okanagan for the abundance of opportunity it provides in so many areas of life.
We personally know that when relocating your family to a new city, one of the top questions you find yourself researching over and over is local schooling options. The central Okanagan is home to School District 23, the 5th largest school district in the province with 31elementary schools, 7 middle schools, and 5 highschools. Kelowna also offers incredible private and faith based education options that repeatedly top the Fraser Institute rankings such as Aberdeen Hall, Kelowna Christian School, Immaculata Catholic, Studio9 School of Arts, and others.
We are super fortunate to have some of the province's best post secondary schooling options right here in our city. UBCO is continuously ranked in the top 40 best universities in the world offering over 50 diverse major and minor bachelor programs. Okanagan College has four campuses spanning from Salmon Arm to Penticton and offers over 120 certificates, diplomas, degrees and programs. For the size of the area there are so many education options for you to choose from.
There are many added expenses that residents in BC incur that other Provinces don’t. One of the big ones if you plan on purchasing property is our provincial Property Transfer Tax.
Property Transfer Tax (PTT) in British Columbia is a type of land transfer tax paid by a buyer when they purchase property. This tax is due on the day of closing and collected by your lawyer or notary. Something to make note of is that this amount can not be mortgaged and is due over and above your down payment. So how much are property transfer taxes going to cost you? PTT is calculated based on the fair market value or the purchase price of the property you are purchasing.
You will be taxed 1% on the first $200,000
2% on the balance up 2 million
And 3% on the balance greater than 2 million
The Okanagan region has experienced an explosive population growth over the past few years, and as a result, the demand for housing has risen significantly. This presents a challenge for many people who are relocating from other provinces, as their expectations around housing may not align with the current reality. Due to its desirability as a place to live, Kelowna has become one of the most expensive cities in Canada to purchase and rent a home. Because of the city’s current infrastructure and topography most of the new development is focused on densification in the downtown and core areas. As a result, there has been an increase in high-density residential buildings such as condos and apartments, which offer more affordable options for those looking to purchase a home in the city. However, the demand for housing still outweighs the supply, and it can be challenging to find affordable housing options in certain areas of Kelowna.