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Kuipers Peak townhomes arrive in the Upper Mission

Kuipers Peak set to impress

Okanagan developer Emil Anderson Properties recently announced the release of Kuipers Peak at South Ridge, a boutique collection of upscale townhomes nestled into the hillside at a pinnacle point in the Upper Mission neighbourhood. With panoramic views of the mountains, vineyards and Okanagan Lake below, the townhome collection signals the most recent collaboration between the developer group and residential builder, Dilworth Homes, which was instrumental in the vision and build out of the South Ridge and Stonebridge communities.

“The Kuipers Peak townhome collection is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood,” says Matthew Temple, vice-president of development and construction for Emil Anderson Properties and Dilworth Homes. “We recognize that the Upper Mission offers a sense of arrival and has become a destination for large-scale, single-family homes with distinctive curb appeal. The Kuipers Peak townhomes offer an upscale fit and finish in a smaller package than the typical Upper Mission home, perfect for the missing middle and downsizers seeking low maintenance living in this amazing neighbourhood—with smart, stylish floor plans that make it easy to enjoy an active Okanagan lifestyle.”

Expertly designed and carefully crafted to maintain the high level of quality that Dilworth Homes is recognized for, the Kuipers Peak townhomes offer two distinctive exterior colour schemes that feature a perfect pairing of stucco, Smart Trim and Hardie Board, with ledgestone rock, wood detailing and towering windows to capture views of the valley from sunrise to sunset. Indoors, floor plan options range from 1,900-2,600 square feet of total living space between the main and walkout or upper levels, with the choice of two to three bedrooms, designer-inspired ‘Sandstone’ or ‘Granite’ selections palettes and a host of elevated upgrades or additions that offer homeowners the opportunity to personalize their home, their way.

From the front door, Kuipers Peak at South Ridge offers immediate access to the wonders of the Okanagan Valley. Situated next to Kuipers Peak Mountain Park and in close proximity to Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park, there is always a hiking path waiting to be explored, with easy access to the existing parks and pathways located throughout the community. Here, you’re also only moments away from various schools, restaurants, boutique shops and award-winning wineries, or a day spent on Okanagan Lake.

“We recognize that the lifestyle of the Okanagan is calling,” Temple says. “We believe that Kuipers Peak is the perfect base camp for enjoying days spent hiking, biking, touring wineries or life on the lake. Living in the Upper Mission, you have access to the best of what the Okanagan has to offer.”

More information about Kuipers Peak at South Ridge can be found here.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

MLA Canada, Okanagan says buyers should keep eye on pre-sales homes

More pre-sales required

To those living in the Okanagan, it will come as no surprise the area’s real estate market has changed drastically over the last year. Density is increasing, buyer dynamics are changing, and development is skyrocketing. Taylor Musseau, managing director and partner of MLA Canada, Okanagan, outlines what homebuyers should know about the state of the current market and why pre-sales homes will be increasingly on a buyer’s radar in the coming months.

The past 12 months have seen quite a dramatic market shift. MLA Advisory noted absorption was down 31% from August 2021 to August 2022, meaning there are more homes available for sale and they are selling drastically slower than this time last year. The rise in interest rates has caused the market to slow down and has decreased buyer purchasing power. Musseau is seeing a shift towards lower priced homes that were previously absorbed primarily by investors.

“In this setting, we are seeing that homes priced over $1 million are tending to sit on the market longer,” Musseau shares. “Homes that appeal to price-sensitive buyers are the fastest moving sector of the market across the Okanagan.” Homebuyers who intend on living or vacationing in their home are having to shift their wish list towards more affordable options, which can often mean less square footage or looking outside of their preferred neighbourhoods.

The Okanagan was formally known as a place for the young families and retirees; this has changed dramatically over the last decade. In Musseau’s opinion, the types of homes that need to be built must also evolve to accommodate the changing demographics of the area. Aging retirees are increasingly looking to relocate, and young families continue to move in. With this year's approval of the UBC Okanagan downtown campus, there is going to be a major influx of students.

“The Okanagan is already drastically short on student housing, so we expect to see more small format homes coming to market to satisfy the need for student housing as well as provide homes for homebuyers trying to break into an increasingly difficult market,” Musseau says.

The Okanagan is now the third largest tech sector in the province, and the city itself is the fastest growing metropolitan area in Canada. “Tourism has always been a major economic driver here, but the city has really broadened who it's attracting, and that is shifting the types of homes being built,” Musseau explains. In line with the Kelowna 2040 Official Community Plan, she predicts we will continue to see a push for more density near the core, with less focus on single family homes and more emphasis on maximizing land to accommodate the flood of people coming to the region.

“The city’s 2040 Official Community Plan favours that density in the core, which tapers building height as you move north,” Musseau adds. “Downtown Kelowna is already at 80 percent of its projected 20-year growth, with 4,000 units of the goal of 5,000 added units by 2040 already under construction or in the permitting process. All that growth, and we’re still in need of more units to meet the demand to come.”

With more density incoming and the need to maximize land, Kelowna can expect a continued influx of new condominium buildings and their presale offerings. With competition impending, Musseau knows what developers need to keep in mind as they take on new projects in the region.

“It’s no secret that people come to the Okanagan for lifestyle, and that should always be at the forefront of all developments,” she shares. “However, developers must note the subtle changes away from tourism-focused lifestyle amenities and towards life-focused amenities.”

Musseau says access to health and fitness centres, e-bike access and walkability to neighbourhood amenities including UBCO and Okanagan College are all major drivers for buyers in Kelowna right now. Maximizing outdoor living both in each home as well as in common amenity spaces is also something to put on high priority. Incorporating more technology and platforms that allow a safe ‘lock and leave’ lifestyle will give the parents of students as well as snowbirds peace of mind.

“I’m particularly excited to see the city is pushing to see more creativity from developers in the types of design, architecture and materials used especially in the downtown core,” Musseau adds. Overall, developers should look to make sure the building unit mix satisfies the varied, and changing, buyer demographics, and that the homes are small enough in size to keep end prices down but large enough to live comfortably and function efficiently.

“That’s the winning combination in the Okanagan right now,” she says.

For those looking to purchase a home in the area, the current landscape can be imposing. “MLA Canada is definitely recommending that anyone seeking to enter the market right now look at pre-sale purchases,” Musseau asserts. “For one, there will be more pre-sale product on the market, which will provide increased options and beneficial competition. Secondly, purchasing a pre-sale home right now—rather than a previously owned home—can shelter you from some of the concerns of today’s real estate and financial markets.”

As Musseau explains it, pre-sale purchases are subject to a different financial structure than resale homes. A homebuyer purchasing a new build does so within an extended deposit structure, meaning a 10% to 20% deposit is spread out over 18 to 24 months. This allows the buyer to save up or diversify investments. For two to five years while the projects are being built, a pre-sale purchaser does not carry any mortgage obligation or other property expenses beyond the deposit.

“This may give wary consumers an opportunity to look beyond today’s high interest rates,” Musseau says. “As a plus, nothing will show up on your credit until closing, which allows a buyer to own real estate without it immediately affecting their debt ratio.” In a rapidly growing and highly desirable market like the Okanagan, Musseau compares purchasing a home pre-construction to buying futures in the stock market.

“You’re buying at today’s prices with the belief that prices will rise in the future, and historically the long-term prices of residential properties have always gone up. You’re likely to see a large increase in value of the home before you ever make your first mortgage payment.” Although a market expert in her own right, Musseau asserts that a local agent who truly understands pre-construction purchases is key. “It's important to engage someone local,” she says, “as they will have a much better understanding of the OCP and how it is going to shape the city, as well as the ability to help navigate the various contracts and disclosure documents that come with purchasing pre-construction.”

More information about MLA Canada, Okanagan can be found here.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

BGC Okanagan holding job fair Saturday to hire those ready to make a difference

Job fair at BGC Okanagan

Kat Dimitriadis has worked at BGC Okanagan for the last nine years, but the organization has been a part of her life for much longer than that.

Life wasn’t always easy for Dimitriadis growing up, which is why the club became her home away from home.

“The club was my safe place, and I relied on the staff people to help me grow,” Dimitriadis says. “I wanted to be that for children as well. I am that now. As soon as I graduated high school I enrolled in the early childhood education program with big goals and dreams.”

BGC Okanagan is currently seeking people who want to a career that makes an impact with children, youth and families. Individuals who want to build positive relationships with Club participants to ensure they grow up to be healthy and active participants in society, leaving the same type of impact that resonated with Dimitriadis when she was young and inspired her to work with the organization.

In fact, BGC Okanagan will be hosting a job fair in Kelowna this Saturday (Sept. 24) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its Martin Avenue location, which can be found at 1434 Graham St.

Hopefuls are encouraged to bring their resume, as interviews will take place on the spot. Those who attend can also enter for a chance to win a $100 gift card. BGC Okanagan is hiring for numerous positions in the North, Central and South Okanagan at many of its 41 locations throughout the valley.

“What I have learnt most from this journey is that we are a community, a strong community of teams that works together,” she says. “We each have a piece we bring to the table and we have to share that. Share our strengths to compensate for our weakness. Share our stories so we can learn about each other. Share resources and get creative. We are stronger together, and the club is a place where we can belong.”

Dimitriadis, who works as a senior early childhood educator, says the organization is looking for employees who are “outgoing, reliable, people driven, caregivers and like children.”

BGC Okanagan offers leadership programs, paid professional development and recertification, benefits, and flexibility, variety and stability.

The mission for everyone who works at BGC Okanagan is simple.

“We support families,” Dimitriadis says. “So if a family is struggling, we’re there to give them the support that they need.

“It’s a great place to work, and once you work here for a while it feels like home.”

More information about BGC Okanagan can be found on its website or on its social media channels @BGCOkanagan.


This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Dark is out, light is in, and you can find it all at Beachcomber Home Leisure

Designers now see the light

When it comes to furniture trends, Kelowna interior designer Tammy Cunningham says we have reached the light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’ve come from the dark side,” Cunningham says. “And now we’re going with everything light and bright—light-coloured flooring, nothing too yellow, nothing too orange, nothing too red. More neutral. Everything for home decor is just light in colour.

“No super dark greys anymore. We’re leaning away from the grey. We’re still working with ‘greige,’ which is more of a ‘beigey’ grey.”

That does not mean black has been blacklisted entirely, however. Cunningham, who works at Center Stage Interior Decorating, says black accents are still required to make a room work. Whether it’s cabinet hardware, throw pillows or lighting, black is still a big part of the show.

“It just gives it that little bit of standout, that contrast, that is needed to make it not feel too mundane,” she says.

It’s the same story on the outside of the house as well. Light-coloured wall surfaces and patio furniture are complemented by black accessories due to a trend that is “very hot right now,” according to Cunningham.

As for materials, light-coloured linens are in while leathers take a back seat, and gold is back after Cunningham says, “We finally got all the brass out of Kelowna.”

One trend that is completely new for Center Stage Interior Decorating is the number of short-term rental homes it is designing these days. Cunningham says the number of phone calls they get has quadrupled in the last couple of years, and that makes Beachcomber Home Leisure, with locations in Kelowna and in Vernon, a go-to furniture store for them.

“The main reason that we really love working with Beachcomber is that you can shop off the floor. You can have stylish product right now,” she says. “So many stores here in Kelowna, and everywhere else, you go in and you see something pretty and then you order it and it takes a ridiculous amount of time, especially in today’s markets.”

Designing a short-term rental requires a different approach than your permanent residence, as longevity is more important than current trends. In other words, no white couches.

“But we’re going to try to make it look light with our throw pillows and throw blankets or something,” Cunningham says, “but kind of still keep something that’s going to be a little more durable and practical.”

As Cunningham mentioned, Beachcomber Home Leisure has furniture featuring all of today’s hottest trends right on their showroom floor. Learn more about Beachcomber on its website here.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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