According to recent data from BC Stats, the population in the Thompson Okanagan grew 2.2% between 2016 and 2017, making it one of the fastest growing development regions in British Columbia. This strong population growth along with increased tourism, changing demographics and ongoing densification continues to drive retail activity in the region, supporting the continued interest in the Okanagan marketplace from both local and national retailers.
- During the first half of 2018, RioCan REIT completed the disposition of two shopping centres in the Okanagan, Dilworth Shopping Centre and Vernon Square Shopping Centre, at a combined sale price of $85 million.
- The departure of Sears at the beginning of 2018 had an adverse effect on the Kelowna retail market, with the vacancy rate increasing 1.5% since the end of 2017 to 4.79% in the second quarter of 2018. Notwithstanding the vacated space by Sears, which represents nearly 45% of all retail vacancy in Kelowna, leasing activity in the market remains strong with several smaller vacancies filled over the last six months.
- Vernon has experienced substantial development over the past few years, adding just over 1,100 new residential units between 2015 and 2017. Commercial development is starting to catch up with Vernon's residential activity, with just over 61,000 square feet of new retail supply currently proposed for development.