It's called 'urban exodus.'
It's the COVID-prompted phenomena that sees people in big cities like Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto seek out smaller, lifestyle cities such as Kamloops, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm for cheaper homes, better standard of living and desirable quality of life.
"As coronavirus taught us the methods of working from home, many industry experts and realtors spoke about the 'urban exodus' that the region may see due to attractive real estate prices," said Chelsea Mann, president of the Kamloops and District Real Estate Association and a realtor with Century 21 Desert Hills.
The average selling price of a typical single-family home in Kamloops is at an all-time high of $681,000, in Kelowna $962,000.
But that's still considered a bargain for a buyer from Vancouver or the Fraser Valley, where the average house price is $1.5 million.
Plus, if those same transplants from the Lower Mainland are working from home they feel they might as well do it from Kamloops, the Okanagan or the Shuswap from a more affordable house.
Over the past year, this trend has been touted anecdotally by realtors, homebuyers and homesellers.
But, this month, the Kamloops and District Real Estate Association quantified the trend with statistics from Buyer Path.
No such figures have been released for the Okanagan or Shuswap, but it's expected the regions are also attracting more than their fair share of 'urban exodus.'
The tracking tool shows 442 of the homebuyers in Kamloops during the first six months of this year were moving from Vancouver or the Fraser Valley.
That's up from 160 during the same period last year.
"Since January 2021, we recorded the percentage share of out-of-district buyers of Kamloops properties to be in the range of 30 to 39%," said Mann.
"Considering we sell 300 listings in an average month (this shift means up to 117 of those buyers could be from out of district)."
Therefore, the majority of buyers continue to be people from the Kamloops region purchasing for the first time or existing owners from Kamloops buying a bigger or better place or downsizing.
But the out-of-town buyer momentum means the Kamloops and the Okanagan real estate market is hot and likely to see more price increases.
In addition, Kamloops' and the Okanagan's reputation as a desirable place to live, work and play will grow with new devotees moving here and positive word of mouth it generates.