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Okanagan Real Estate Market Low Loonie

What effect is the low Canadian Dollar having on the Okanagan Real Estate Market?

In regards to the Okanagan Real Estate Market, some of you may have been wondering about the advantages and disadvantages to real estate when it concerns the record low value of our Canadian Dollar. As with anything concerning economics it seems there are always positives and negatives. Some of the things you might notice:

  1. Canadians that bought in the US market during their downturn are now reaping the double benefit of the rebound in the US market and the favourable exchange rate. According to a CBC news article Feb 1st the snowbirds are flocking to sell. “A growing number of Canadians who bought U.S. homes for cheap and are now selling them to take advantage of rising U.S. house prices and a tanking loonie.”
  1. It is not just the profits that are encouraging people to leave. The monthly costs of maintaining a home in the States are ever increasing with the disparity between the two dollars. Many Canadians are more likely to be staying at home, and as the Okanagan undoubtedly benefits from one of the better winter climates in the country that may be a benefit to us as we see more retirees considering their options.
  1. Accelerated retirement. Some people close to retirement who have sufficient savings may opt to take early retirement rather than face another boom bust cycle, particularly in the oil patch.
  1. Similarly more tourists and overseas investors will be attracted to our region. As a tourist destination the Okanagan is gaining strength and recognition, with award winning ski hills, wineries and of course, let’s not overlook our beautiful lake. Big White was recently listed as one of Canada’s Top 5 Under the Radar Ski Resorts that aren’t Whistler, by Vogue Magazine. And interestingly, according to local online news Castanet the resort has just had its best real estate month in 10 years, with 19 sales in the month of January.
  1. The Vancouver effect. The investment potential provided by the low loonie has certainly had an undeniable impact on the Vancouver real estate market, which will inevitably prompt some from the Lower Mainland to consider moving further afield. Whether it is because they cannot afford to get into the Vancouver market, or because they can make a handsome profit by moving out, many people will be considering relocating to take advantage of the more reasonable Okanagan real estate market.
  1. The low loonie is tied to the price of oil, which is having a crushing effect on the Alberta job market. In comparison the BC job market is more robust, so we may see an influx of job seekers which can also have an affect on our housing market, even if it only pushes up rental property market at first.

We certainly live in interesting times. It can be challenging to keep up with and interpret the trends but as a busy Realtor it is important for me to keep up to date and I enjoy passing on my thoughts to you, I hope you enjoy sharing the too. Please feel free to join the conversation and send me your comments.