After years of a steady, if flat, housing market in the Penticton area, pent up desire for new homes is starting to make itself felt.
“We currently have 35 homes under various stages of construction,” said Trent Blackwell, who represents Sendero Canyon Homes, a residential development on the east side of Penticton. Though the development was approved in 2008, the first home only started going up last October.
“From 2008 to 2010, there wasn’t a lot of movement in the Okanagan,” said Blackwell. But at a recent open house at Sendero, 200 people turned out to view the show home and look over the property.
“We are ahead of projections; we have had way more activity than I was expecting. At this point, it’s been largely the local population, but we are getting more and more calls from people outside of Penticton,” Blackwell said.
There are 131 homes planned for the first phase of Sendero Canyon, and another 100 in the second phase.
Blackwell said that if interest continued at the current rate, they were anticipating the market would absorb the new homes in five to six years.
“Realistically, we are targeting seven. Ten (years) would be on the low end of absorption, that would be if we are really stretching it out,” he said. “Throughout the Okanagan, we are seeing an increase in absorption and activity and that is something our realtors have told us.”
Blackwell said part of the growing interest in Penticton is due to factors like WestJet bringing direct-to-Calgary flights to Penticton Airport.
That increased accessibility coupled with the cost of living and lifestyle, he said, is making the city more attractive for oil industry workers looking to set up a home base.
“We have found there is a number of buyers in that category who are working in Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, working in some of the northern exposures,” said Blackwell, who adds that the view from Sendero Canyon, along with freehold lots and ability to incorporate secondary suites, are some of his project’s particularly attractive points.
“You are surrounded by nature, a really nice quiet serene environment with some great views of the valley overlooking the city of Penticton,” he said. “There is so many people that want to come live in the Penticton Osoyoos area, because you have an incredible climate. We know there are a lot of professionals that are wanting to live in a community like this.”
Blackwell also gives credit to city hall for helping draw new people to Penticton.
“Your city has been very proactive in the work they are doing to get the word about Penticton out there for people who are professionals who either want to commute or people later in their careers who want to set up here,” said Blackwell. “You are in the heart of wine country, you’ve got lakes everywhere, you’ve got skiing. There are just so many benefits in the community for people that want to live that lifestyle and a lot of people just need an Internet connection now and a phone.”