A construction industry organization is calling on Central Okanagan municipalities for more cooperation to build housing in the region.
The Central Okanagan has the fourth largest residential construction economy in B.C., according to data published by the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA).
There are challenges, however.
City (Kelowna) staff have noted a slowdown in building permits, and many builders are feeling pessimistic about the year ahead, according to the CHBA Housing Market Index (HMI).
“At a time when housing has never been more expensive, we need municipalities to stop looking at builders and developers as a piggy bank,” said Dan Winer, executive officer of CHBA Central Okanagan. “They need to work with industry as partners in meeting the demands of a growing region.”
The HMI shows residential construction is the leading economic driver in the Central Okanagan, contributing over $2.5 billion in investment and $1.4 billion in wages.
The sector surpasses tourism and technology, the report states.
HMI data indicates that nearly 19,000 people are employed by the residential construction industry in new home construction and renovation.
“Residential construction is the backbone of our local economy,” says Darren Witt, CHBA-CO president.
The report also found that residential construction is responsible for more than 3,000 jobs in Vernon and 1,200 jobs in West Kelowna, with an additional $600 million in local economic contribution between the two cities.