The Central Okanagan is the fastest-growing metro area in B.C. at 1.9 per cent and the fourth fastest in Canada, according to the latest Statistics Canada data.
In 2020, the estimated population for the Kelowna census metropolitan area (CMA), which covers the area from Lake Country through Peachland, was 222,778, compared to 217,229 in 2019.
These numbers come as the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC) released its Q4 2020 economic and job market indicators report.
Over the last 10-months during the COVID-19 pandemic, the COEDC has focused on supporting local businesses’ needs and economic recovery in the Central Okanagan.
During this time, the Central Okanagan region saw a slight decrease in the labour force of 1.4 per cent, and 2020 came to a close with a 4.7 per cent unemployment rate.
Despite businesses reopening and staff members rehired, new job postings decreased in 2020 by 28.7 per cent compared to 2019. Meanwhile, job seekers – individuals who created a profile in job portals – increased by 12.7 per cent.
However, the region did see an increase in business licenses of 4.7 per cent or 1,453 in total for the year. Lake Country took the lead with an increase of 16.2 per cent in business license growth for the Central Okanagan.
With the labour force taking a dip in the Kelowna CMA, so did housing stats as the region saw a decrease by 19.4 per cent, with the focus remaining on multi-family units.
According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the median price for a single or semi-detached home in the Central Okanagan sits at $877,500, which is a price decrease of 7.7 per cent in 2020.
The vacancy rate for two-bedroom apartments increased to 1.3 per cent in 2020 from 2.6 per cent in 2019 — representing a 50 per cent decrease.
For a two-bedroom apartment, the average rent in the Kelowna CMA is $1,368 a month, compared to $1,320 in Calgary and $1,799 in Vancouver.