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Penticton’s increasing popularity may not have produced a skyscraper boom like Kelowna, but it has benefited from the migration of Vancouverites, who hit the jackpot with rising home prices in the lower mainland and cashed out to move to the Okanagan.
Major improvements to its airport have helped, too, according to Anthony Policicchio, facilities manager at the City of Penticton.
“An increase in direct flights to Vancouver and Calgary have helped to add business professionals who can live in Penticton and commute by air to meetings at major cities,” he says.
As the city manages its growth, the communities surrounding Penticton are booming, too. Bedroom communities like Naramata, Summerland and Okanagan Falls are all within 20 kilometres of Penticton and the airport. All are very desirable locations especially for those seeking a single-family home. Of the housing stock approved in Penticton since 2014, single-family dwellings make up 20 per cent and multi-unit dwellings make up 80 per cent.
Naramata, first up, is 15 kilometres northeast of Penticton. Not on the main highway, it is perhaps the most secluded of the three communities. Famous for its award-winning wineries, and more recently craft distilleries, the drive from Penticton to Naramata is a gloriously winding path through benchlands featuring vineyards, orchards, cliffs, and bluffs. Down the road from the benchlands is the small town of Naramata offering unspoiled beaches, fresh markets and waterfront dining at the more than 100-year-old Naramata Inn.
The dream of building a retirement home on the Naramata bench is exactly why Calgarians Jim and Gayle Kazakoff bought at Vista, a new neighborhood from the Naramata Benchlands Properties, developers of benchland neighborhoods Stone Brook and Outlook.
“We’ve been all through the Okanagan and we wanted to be somewhere warm and close to an airport,” says Gayle Kazakoff. “We fell in love with the south Okanagan, and Naramata is our favourite. We just sold our house here and August 1 is our last day in Calgary.”
The Kazakoffs purchased a homesite and, after working with a local designer, selected Okanagan Custom Homes from Penticton to build their home. With a half-acre homesite, they opted for a modern farmhouse-style bungalow. While the 2,000-square-foot home has a walkout basement, the design focuses on one-level living and has many aging-in-place features.
At Vista, homesites are fee simple and are not part of a strata, giving the Kazakoffs the opportunity to do their own design within some parameters. All homesites are approved for a carriage house or guest home and each parcel of land is oriented to ensure eye-catching panoramas. The community is bordered by the renowned Kettle Valley Trail, a former railway converted to a walking and cycling trail that winds through the benchlands, offering up incredible views of the lake. Vista has 41 homesites in total and has just launched its second offering. It has 15 homesites available, ranging in size from 2,392 square metres to 8,381 square metres, with prices starting in the high $500,000s. (vistanaramata.com)
“What I love is that this place is a grandkids magnet,” says Gail. “With the bike trail, the beaches and an extended summer, we have a lot to offer our four grandchildren.”
Almost directly across Okanagan Lake from Naramata, situated on Highway 97, is Summerland. Only 17 kilometres northwest of Penticton and located along the benches and shorelines of Okanagan Lake, Summerland was first incorporated as a municipality in 1906, the year after waterfront homesites were sold via an auction from a large raft with a brass band playing. Its main street is situated up in the hills.
Known also for orchards, vineyards and beautiful landscapes, Summerland’s charm is its ability to offer a relaxed pace of life while providing modern amenities and attractions. The town’s quiet main street is stocked with locally owned artisan shops, bistros and eateries. Summerland offers the outdoor and recreational enthusiast a multitude of options including hiking, biking, skiing and water sports.
Launched in 2020, Hunters Hill is a master-planned community nestled into the hillside a few kilometres north of Summerland’s main street and west of Sumac Ridge and Highway 97. The community features spacious homesites, 80 acres of protected green space, 500 acres of crown land, and stunning mountain and lake views. (HuntersHill.ca)
The first phase of 55 homesites sold out quickly with most homes now built or under construction. Phase 2 is now selling and homesites ranging from the mid $400,000s to the mid $600,000s. Homesite ownership is freehold and there are no strata or monthly fees.
The highly anticipate Phase 3 is launching in early fall of this year. With views of Giant’s Head Mountain and the lake below, Phase Three will feature 14 homesites in total, five of which can accommodate a carriage home. The community is being developed by the Hunters Hill Joint Venture, a group of Okanagan-based real estate and land development professionals, including Hunters Hill Holdings Ltd. and Emil Anderson Properties.
“My family has been proud to call Summerland home for many years,” says Patrick Murphy of Hunters Hill Holdings Ltd. “Hunters Hill is a celebration of the land, the environment, and the small-town atmosphere of Summerland.”
At the south end of Skaha Lake, 13 kilometres south from Penticton airport on Highway 97, is the town of Okanagan Falls. OK Falls, as it is often called, has picturesque landscapes, warm, sunny weather, vineyards, orchards and wineries. With a population of more than 2,300, OK Falls has retained its small-town charm and offers unlimited recreational activities including swimming, watersports, hiking, biking and rock climbing.
Launched by Interrobang Developments Ltd., Lemonade Lane is OK Falls’ most recent master-planned community. Designed by the Airey Group in collaboration with Kasian Architecture, it is 40 residences being built in phases on a riverfront location by Wildstone Construction.
The open-concept main living area features airy nine-foot ceilings, dual-tone flat panel cabinets, premium kitchen appliances, large island with breakfast bar, dining area and a powder room. Upstairs are bedrooms, a bathroom and the master suite with walk-in closet.
Scheduled to be completed by 2024, the community features Scandinavian farmhouse-inspired townhomes, each with private yard and single or double garages. These two-storey wood frame residences offer a choice of two-bedroom plus flex or three-bedroom floor plans from 1,320 to 2,025 square feet. Available homes range in price from $595,000 to $724,000. (LemonadeLane.com)
As central Okanagan booms and Kelowna becomes a bigger city every year, home buyers are seeking options. Penticton with its improved airport and surrounding communities are providing many alternatives.