Construction records broken in Lake Country

Construction values are the highest they’ve ever been in the district

It was a record-breaking year for construction value in Lake Country.

The total number of building permits issued in 2018 was 378, with a value of $95 million, breaking the previous record value of $92 million set in 2016.

Last year, there were 380 permits issued with a total value of $89 million.

“There’s a lot of projects going on,” said director of community services Mark Koch. “We’ve seen an uptick in multi-family, a lot more townhomes in the community, a lot more commercial happening. Projects like Lakestone, The Lakes are in the final phases, so it’s a bit of a combination of those projects.”

Dr. Anthony Hlynka moved to Lake Country last year and works at Turtle Bay Medical Clinic. He bought land in the McKinley Beach area before building a home.

RELATED: Construction continues on Pelmewash Parkway

He said he wouldn’t have bought the land if it was priced at what it is today.

“It was the Okanagan that drew me before the job. I moved out here to do some more training for races,” he said.

“We were looking for a couple years and didn’t find anything, so we ended up buying some land.”

At the time, the property was cost around $270,000. He said the value has since doubled.

Permits for multi-family homes were also higher in the district in 2018 than 2017. In 2017, 16 permits were given out valued at $13 million, while last year saw 24 permits issued at a total value of $19 million.

While the number of permits issued for single family homes dropped last year compared to 2017, the value increased with 113 permits valued at $63 million in 2018 compared to 125 permits valued at $60 million in 2017.

“That means the homes that are being built are more expensive homes,” Koch said.

Mayor James Baker said it was expected construction would slow down in 2018, but but the statistics show otherwise.

“As I said before, it’s a good place to be, so everyone wants to live here,” he said.

The province’s speculation tax—set to come into effect this spring in West Kelowna and Kelowna—could be a factor with building proposals because people are looking to buy in Lake Country to avoid paying it the two neighbouring municipalities, Baker said.

Rental housing is in high demand in Lake Country and that has been addressed by the district with the encouragement of secondary suites. But the district has also outlined the need with other specific rental housing.

Baker said that issue will be addressed with new affordable housing complexes planned for Jensen and Hill Roads.

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