The residential market is so hot in Oliver that four times as many houses were built in 2017 than the previous year.
In 2017, Oliver issued a total of 101 building permits, of those permits 45 were new residential permits. In 2016, 11 new residential permits were issued.
“It seems like more than before people have found where Oliver is,” Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes said during a phone interview Wednesday.
The multi-term mayor said the community is often sheltered from the boom and bust of the economy as its residents come from a varied background.
“In my way of thinking… we attract a large number of the senior population that are looking for where to live, but our economy is also quite diverse. The corrections facility created 300 new jobs and that created a market for new housing. There’s pockets of business and industry and wine in the agriculture community that all have employees that need housing.”
Hovanes also noted high end tourism developments of recent years including Area 27, an elite car racing track, and world class events such as Festival of the Grape create a buzz for the community.
“There’s some really neat things happening here,” he said.
Values of housing ranged between as low as $63,000 for new mobile homes to as high as just over $700,000 for a new home build.
The value of new homes in the town was pegged at $11.9 million up from $3.6 million in 2016.
Hovanes said town councils for years have strived to support all kinds of housing options.
He noted that with the size of the town being just three-kilometers square, and it being surrounded by Agriculture Land Reserve properties and Osoyoos Indian Band land, options to grow are limited.
“We have very, very little room to grow. We don’t have urban sprawl and likely never will. We realized years ago to grow we need to densify, infill and repurpose land,” he said. “On our books today is a tonne of property that’s zoned for multi-family use, duplexes, triplexes. That’s all in our Official Community Plan.”
Hovanes said the town was the first in the regional district to create a bylaw to allow for carriage houses and secondary suites type buildings.
Thirty-three residential improvement permits were issued in 2017 with a total improvement value of $641,000 compared to 34 in 2016 with a value of $1.178 million.
Multi-tenant permits were up with six issued in 2017 compared to one in 2016.
Commercial permits were relatively the same with 16 issued last year and 15 in 2016.