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Penticton taking over from Kelowna as Okanagan real estate hotspot

‘Penticton has all the amenities of a larger centre but with a small town feel’
(Phil McLachlan/Western News File)

This is part one of a two part series.

According to those in the know, Penticton is quickly becoming the next major investment hub in the Okanagan.

Western Investor magazine ranks the city at number four on its list of five top towns for real estate investors in 2023, and an article by Vancouver real estate firm Maude, MacKay and Co. calls the region a property “hotspot.”

Both entities point to Penticton’s location, surrounded by lakes and mountains, and growing housing and economic opportunities as just some of the reasons to invest in the South Okanagan community.

“We’ve been seeing, really for the last two years, that Penticton is our favourite market in the valley,” says Shane Styles, president of Epic Real Estate Solutions.

A recent call from a Vancouver client, who vacationed in Penticton as a child and is now looking for property opportunities, confirmed to Styles that the area is on many investors’ radar.

“I tell you I can mix and repeat that story a hundred times. Penticton has all the amenities of a larger centre but with a small town feel. Demand drives interest.”

One of the areas that interests Styles, in particular, is the North Gateway Plan in the northeast corner of the city. Penticton has invested more than $200 million to create the South Okanagan Events Centre Campus which features an aquatic centre, ice rink, convention centre, casino and curling club. There is also the future opportunity for two new NHL-sized rinks next to the convention centre.

On the housing side, the city’s plan is to increase the density that currently exists, around 300 residential units, up to 2,200 new residential units at full build-out.

“Buy where the demand is going to be the greatest in the future,” adds Styles. “Where a city is putting recreation and entertainment amenities, parks, beaches and active transportation corridors.”

He illustrates his point by referencing Kelowna’s investment along the Abbott Street corridor.

“Anybody who purchased in or along Abbott in advance of the city adding new beaches, the largest recreational corridor, they have all benefited from that because it draws people to that area. The North Gateway Plan will be the same experience in Penticton.”

Styles says he also sees better opportunities in Penticton than in Kelowna for a wide range of investors.

“There’s a wider bandwidth of approachable prices to get into the market. You can still get housing in the mid $200,000 to low $300,000 range. Those opportunities don’t exist anymore in Kelowna. If you’ve got $1.2 million and want to buy a house…and subdivide into a couple of lots you can do that in Penticton as well.”

The opportunities in Penticton are drawing many, generally younger people, to the city, according to Styles.

“New people are coming from bigger cities because Penticton has all the assets of a larger urban centre, but they can get their foot in the door.”

He also points out that it’s just a great city to be in.

“It punches above its weight for a small community with entertainment, an events centre, lakes, wineries and brewpubs. There is a whole food, wine and culinary culture in Penticton that I think is unique to the entire valley.”

Styles adds that Penticton does remind him of Kelowna eight to 10 years ago.

“It’s not going to be Kelowna. It’s always going to have its own feel, flair and flavour. It’s a market that’s forecast to be one of the fastest growing in the valley. There are a lot of eyeballs on Penticton.”


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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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