New single-family homes losing ground in Kelowna | News
Eighty-five percent of all new homes built in Kelowna last year were in multi-family buildings, 2023 development statistics show.
Of the nearly 4,000 total units built, just over 10 percent were single-family homes. About eight percent were secondary suites in new or existing homes.
The trend toward a significant majority of new residential construction being made up of multi-family units began several years ago and has accelerated recently because of the soaring cost of new single-family homes, rising interest rates, and specific city policies that discourage so-called urban sprawl.
For example, the city has begun to prevent construction on far-flung areas that would have been opened for development in the past. Encouraging higher density housing in established areas makes better use of existing services and infrastructure such as water and sewer lines, roads, and bus routes, the city says.
Through 2023, the city fielded 827 planning and development applications, about equal to the average annual number in recent years.
But permit values have skyrocketed partly due to the greatly increased cost of construction, with values rising from $478 million in 2020 to almost $1.8 billion in 2023. But there were also several large-scale projects last year, which pushed values up, city councillors will hear Monday.
The slowest year for new home construction in the past three-and-a-half decades was 2011, when just 427 new units were built in Kelowna. Sixty-three percent of the new units that year consisted of single-family homes.