Moving to Kelowna & the Okanagan 13 January 2024

Moving to Kelowna BC? 10 Things You MUST Know Before Relocating

Moving to Kelowna, BC, is an exciting prospect, but before you pack your bags, it’s essential to understand the city’s nuances. This guide covers ten crucial aspects to ensure a smooth transition. 

Kelowna Weather

Kelowna’s weather is a captivating fusion of seasons that paints a vivid tapestry across the Okanagan Valley. Winters bring occasional heavy snowfall, transforming the city into a winter wonderland without the extreme cold seen in many Canadian cities. This unique balance allows residents to enjoy the beauty of snow while relishing milder temperatures.

Come summer, Kelowna blossoms into an outdoor paradise. Warm temperatures and ample sunshine create an ideal setting for year-round activities. The city’s proximity to Okanagan Lake enhances the experience, offering opportunities for water sports, hiking, and leisurely days by the beach. Kelowna’s weather isn’t just a backdrop; it’s an ever-changing canvas, inviting residents and visitors to embrace the diverse beauty each season brings to this year-round playground.

Kelowna Schools

Kelowna’s educational offerings are a testament to its commitment to providing diverse learning opportunities for families. The Central Okanagan School District, a cornerstone of the city’s education, offers a range of programs, including French immersion and International Baccalaureate, ensuring a well-rounded and globally oriented education.

Complementing the public system, Kelowna features a vibrant array of private schools with diverse curricula, meeting various educational philosophies. Furthermore, the city’s higher education options, such as Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan, seamlessly bridge the gap between secondary and post-secondary education, solidifying Kelowna’s reputation as a hub for continuous and enriching learning experiences.

Kelowna Real Estate

To navigate Kelowna’s real estate successfully, it’s crucial to grasp the dynamic nature of the market. As of January 2024, the average home prices underscore the city’s housing landscape, with single-family homes commanding an average of $1,005,010, townhomes at $697,324, and condos at $484,254. These figures not only reflect the city’s popularity but also present a spectrum of housing options catering to various preferences and budget considerations.

Kelowna’s neighbourhoods play a pivotal role in shaping these housing dynamics. Areas like Rutland, known for its affordability and burgeoning developments, appeal to those seeking entry-level prices and promising investment opportunities. In contrast, Glenmore exudes a family-friendly atmosphere with convenient access, while the lower mission beckons with luxurious waterfront living. Each neighbourhood offers a distinct lifestyle, creating a real estate market that accommodates the diverse needs and aspirations of both residents and investors alike.

Kelowna High Cost of Living

Recognizing the high cost of living in Kelowna is essential for prospective residents. While comparatively more affordable than larger cities, the city demands careful financial planning. As of January 2024, the average yearly salary hovers around $50,558, indicating the need for prudent budgeting to align with the cost of living.

The real estate market, a significant factor in Kelowna’s living expenses, reveals an average house price of $728,862. This figure emphasizes the necessity for individuals and families to carefully assess their financial capabilities and housing requirements. While Kelowna presents a more reasonable cost of living compared to major urban centers, prospective residents are encouraged to approach their relocation with a well-thought-out financial strategy to ensure a comfortable and sustainable lifestyle in this vibrant Okanagan city.

Kelowna Neighbourhoods

Delving into Kelowna unveils a rich tapestry of neighbourhoods, each with its own unique charm. The vibrant downtown area pulsates with energy, offering a dynamic urban lifestyle surrounded by a ton of amenities and entertainment options. For those seeking a family-friendly atmosphere, Glenmore emerges as an inviting choice, providing convenient access and a welcoming community feel.

Nestled amidst picturesque landscapes, the Upper Mission stands as a testament to Kelowna’s scenic beauty. This area offers a tranquil and visually stunning environment, making it an ideal haven for those who appreciate a blend of nature and residential living. Choosing the right Kelowna neighbourhood becomes a personalized journey, aligning with individual preferences and lifestyle aspirations. I highly recommend connecting with a local expert or real estate agent to help get a better idea of what area might suit your lifestyle needs the best.

Difference Between Kelowna and West Kelowna

While often perceived as interchangeable, Kelowna and West Kelowna present notable differences in it’s overall environment and lifestyle, influencing the choice between city living and a more laid-back suburban atmosphere. Kelowna, as the larger and more urbanized of the two, boasts a bustling cityscape with a wide array of amenities, cultural offerings, and a dynamic urban lifestyle.

On the flip side, West Kelowna offers a different experience, providing a more relaxed and suburban atmosphere. The lifestyle here is characterized by scenic landscapes, a slower pace, and a close-knit community vibe. Understanding these distinctions becomes essential for anyone contemplating a move, as it enables individuals to align their living preferences with the ambiance they desire. Whether one leans towards the vibrant urban environment of Kelowna or the tranquility of suburban living in West Kelowna, understanding these differences ensures a well-informed decision that resonates with your unique.

Kelowna Transportation System

Navigating Kelowna is a seamless experience, thanks to its well-designed transportation infrastructure. The city’s comprehensive system, operated by BC Transit, encompasses a robust bus network, including express routes that efficiently connect various parts of the city. The convenience is further enhanced by a user-friendly mobile app, offering real-time information and facilitating smooth travel planning.

Beyond traditional public transportation, Kelowna embraces modern mobility solutions, with the inclusion of ride-sharing services like Uber. This additional layer of accessibility provides residents and visitors with flexible and convenient travel options, ensuring that getting around the city is not only efficient but also tailored to individual preferences.

Hiking in Kelowna

For outdoor enthusiasts, Kelowna is nothing short of a paradise. The city, embraced by a stunning natural landscape of mountains, lakes, and forests, presents a haven for nature lovers. The diverse array of hiking trails available caters to enthusiasts of all levels, providing an opportunity for everyone to explore the captivating outdoors.

Kelowna’s trails offer a variety of experiences, from the exhilaration of conquering challenging peaks to the tranquility of leisurely nature walks. Whether you seek the panoramic views from the summits of Knox Mountain or the serene ambiance along the Mission Creek trail, Kelowna’s outdoor offerings embrace the varied preferences of hikers. This abundance of natural beauty not only promotes physical well-being but also fosters a deep connection with the breathtaking landscapes that define the Okanagan region. In Kelowna, the great outdoors isn’t just a destination; it’s an immersive experience catering to the heart and soul of every outdoor enthusiast.

Restaurants and Nightlife

Kelowna’s culinary scene is a vibrant tapestry, showcasing a numerous array of flavours and experiences. From farm-to-table restaurants that celebrate local produce to the exquisite offerings of wineries and the creativity of craft breweries, the city’s gastronomic landscape is nothing short of a delight.

Whether you find yourself in the bustling hub of downtown or exploring the craft brewery scene in the north end, Kelowna caters to every taste and preference. The culinary diversity ensures that food enthusiasts can embark on a gastronomic journey, discovering unique flavors and culinary creations that reflect the rich bounty of the Okanagan Valley. In Kelowna, the culinary scene isn’t just a collection of eateries; it’s an immersive experience that invites residents and visitors alike to savour the rich tapestry of flavours woven into the city’s vibrant food culture.

Big White Ski Resort

For winter enthusiasts, the nearby Big White Ski Resort stands as a beacon of snowy adventures. Renowned for its powdery slopes and an array of winter activities, this resort provides an idyllic escape for those seeking the thrill of the cold season. Whether you’re a skiing aficionado, snowboarder extraordinaire, or someone interested in more unconventional activities like snowshoeing and ice climbing, Big White offers a winter wonderland catering to a diverse range of preferences.

The resort’s powdery slopes create the perfect canvas for exhilarating downhill experiences, making it a haven for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. The expansive terrain, coupled with the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, transforms Big White into more than just a ski destination – it becomes a immersive winter sanctuary. With its array of activities and picturesque setting, Big White Ski Resort beckons winter lovers to embrace the snowy embrace of the Okanagan’s high country.

Bonus Tip – Property Transfer Tax

Embarking on your real estate journey in Kelowna involves a crucial understanding of the property transfer tax. Calculated based on the property’s value, this tax is a pivotal consideration in your home purchase. The calculation is:

  • 1% of the fair market value up to and including $200,000
  • 2% of the fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000
  • 3% of the fair market value greater than $2,000,000

The rates, structured to reflect the property’s value, can significantly impact your budget. It’s not only a financial consideration but a strategic one, necessitating careful planning and budgeting. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer exploring exemptions or diving into the intricacies of the tax brackets, comprehending the property transfer tax landscape is an essential step in ensuring a seamless transition into your new Kelowna home.


Making the decision to move to or purchase in Kelowna and the Okanagan is a significant step, and ensuring a seamless transition involves understanding these ten crucial aspects. The factors, ranging from weather conditions to real estate dynamics and the plethora of outdoor activities, collectively contribute to the unique charm of Kelowna. Each facet adds a layer of consideration to your relocation journey, making it crucial to understand the nuances of Kelowna’s lifestyle and offerings. By  exploring these aspects, you not only facilitate a smoother transition but also set the stage for an enriched and fulfilling experience in this vibrant Okanagan city.

Check out my latest video from my YouTube Channel where I break down each of these topics!



  1. Is Kelowna’s cost of living comparable to other Canadian cities?
    • Kelowna’s cost of living is relatively high but compares favorably to larger cities like Vancouver and Toronto.
  2. Are there affordable housing options in Kelowna?
    • Yes, areas like Rutland offer more affordable housing options.
  3. How is the public transportation system in Kelowna?
    • Kelowna boasts a well-developed bus system operated by BC Transit, with regular services and convenient options like a mobile app.
  4. What makes Kelowna’s culinary scene unique?
    • Kelowna’s culinary scene is diverse, with farm-to-table restaurants, wineries, craft breweries, and a variety of cuisines.
  5. Is there a skiing destination near Kelowna?
    • Yes, the nearby Big White Ski Resort offers world-renowned slopes and winter activities.