Affordable BC region now ‘hot’ for Albertan buyers

Lower oil prices and uncertainty towards the NDP government is fuelling more investment in parts of B.C. as Albertans seek permanent residences for retirement, according to an industry vet.

“What’s more interesting is the reaction to lower oil prices and the NDP government in Alberta,” Bill Hubbard, owner/broker of Century 21 Executives Realty in Vernon, B.C., told CREW. “It seems to be really working in our favour. The number of purchases by Albertans is actually on the rise and has been over the past six months. It was a theory for a while, but we now have the data to back it up.”

That data shows that markets like Kelowna have seen Albertans take over 15-20 per cent of the real estate market as they look to purchase a vacation home or permanent residence such as single-family home.

With the Bank of Canada lowering the overnight interest rate by 25 basis points, the move could free up more capital for investors and give them confidence to get off fence.

The market in places like Kelowna has been scorching over the last year with monthly increases being recorded in the Okanagan region. According to stats released by the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board in June, 622 homes were sold, amounting to a 12 per cent increase compared to this time last year.

Prices have also increased as the average price for a home is now $527,000, a 6.5 per cent increase from this time last year, which is as close to the $550,000 average price set in mid-2008 at the height of the boom just before the late-2008 recession hit.

“Most people thought it would adversely affect the number of people who are buying from Alberta, Hubbard told CREW. “It has affected the number of people who have bought recreational properties, but it has increased the number of people buying single-family homes and permanent residences.” 

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