Sotheby's International Realty Canada announced the opening of a new flagship office in the BC Interior on Monday, intended to service clientele across the Thompson Okanagan, Shuswap, and Kootenay Rockies regions.

The new office will be located in The Shore at Gyro Beach, at 104-3477 Lakeshore Road in Kelowna, and will be led by Nathan Flavel, as Sotheby's Regional Broker for the BC Interior.

The opening of a new office is undoubtedly a reflection of Sotheby's International Realty's confidence in the market, with the company saying in its press release that the move "aligns with the robust growth and dynamic changes in the region's real estate landscape."

"Our expansion into the BC Interior is a strategic response to clear market signals," Flavel said. "We are seeing a significant uptick in demand for conventional and luxury real estate from locals, as well as newcomers drawn in by the region's allure as a premier destination for upscale living."

"This launch underscores our confidence in the region's top-tier real estate market, and our belief that areas including the Thompson Okanagan, Shuswap, and the Kootenay Rockies will continue to attract home buyers and investors from across BC, Canada, and around the world," added Sotheby's International Realty President and CEO Don Kottick.

Nathan Flavel (centre-left) and Don Kottick (centre-right).Nathan Flavel (centre-left) and Don Kottick (centre-right).(Courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty)

In the past decade, Kelowna has earned a reputation as one of the fastest-growing cities in all of Canada as a result of market fundamentals that have increased the region's accessibility and appeal, such as the University of British Columbia establishing a campus in the early aughts and the continued development of Kelowna International Airport.

Like most markets in Canada, however, 2023 was a year where real estate market activity declined across the board in the BC Interior. Kelowna and other regions of the BC Interior were also hit by a series of severe wildfires, which prompted a state of emergency declaration by the Province and undoubtedly had a negative impact on market activity.

According to statistics published by the BC Real Estate Association on Monday, the Okanagan region saw residential unit sales decline by 15.8% — from 9,422 to 7,933 — and the Kootenay region saw residential unit sales decline by 11.7% — from 3,097 to 2,734.

Those aforementioned market fundamentals are still there, however, and experts are expecting interest rates to decline by mid-2024, potentially setting up Kelowna and the BC Interior for a rebound year.