The new condos: Keeping up with the times

Lakeside or next to a golf resort, condos offer a lifestyle upgrade

Kids jumping off docks. Seniors smiling on stairclimbers. Couples clinking wineglasses on rooftop patios. These are just some of the images you’ll see if you’re “rightsizing” to a condominium, especially one located in a resort town. Whether you’re purchasing your first home or downsizing from a single family property; condominium living means sharing space with others. Traditionally, only the wealthy have been able to afford pools in the backyard or well-equipped home gyms. Condo living allows homeowners the opportunity to enjoy these amenities at a substantially reduced cost. From an economic standpoint, you are being rewarded for living in less space by getting a lifestyle upgrade.

Amenity packages are rapidly changing in order to accommodate the diverse needs of homeowners. Some of these changes are being driven by environmental consciousness combined with urban convenience. In downtown Kelowna, electrical charging stations for Teslas, Leafs and other battery-powered vehicles are not only available now, but will be expanded in the future. Secured bike rooms complete with workplace benches have become more commonplace in buildings targeted toward people who want to live close to downtown or near a bike path. In mountain resorts, there are washing stations to blast away dirt and grime after an excursion on muddy single-track trails. Some winter resort condos supply well-ventilated work benches for waxing bases and sharpening edges of skis.

Larger developments offer guest suites so that visitors can relax and not feel as though they are imposing upon friends who have right-sized to smaller homes. For a lot of right-sizers, having your own private beach (preferably with access to boat slips) is the ultimate luxury. Located right on Okanagan Lake, both McKinley Beach north of Kelowna and West Harbour in West Kelowna tick all of those boxes. Preferred pricing on golf-course memberships can be a powerful selling point for people wanting to locate on or adjacent to a golf course. Shuswap Lake Estates offers pickleball courts; pickleball (similar to tennis, but with less chasing after balls) is becoming very popular in some places. Located on the shores of Kamloops Lake, Tobiano homeowners can look forward to an equestrian facility at some point in the future. Aqua Resort in Kelowna is even building an indoor “boat valet” facility that will provide exclusive access to Okanagan Lake. Perhaps the most unique — some might say decadent — amenity is living in a condo located within a luxury hotel, such as the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Coal Harbour. Ride the elevator down to the lobby and belly up to one of Vancouver’s trendiest bars, where you might meet Hollywood stars in town to film the latest blockbuster. Such access comes at a steep price, usually around $5 million. A more affordable, if that’s the correct word, alternative exists over in Victoria, which was just named the No. 1 city in the world in Christie’s International Real Estate luxury housing list. The Oak Bay Beach Hotel Private Residences offer exclusive access to some truly topnotch amenities, such as the beloved Snug pub and the outdoor mineral baths and spa.

The biggest amenity for most buyers, especially those who are making the transition to retirement, is the actual community itself; something that goes well beyond a tiny swimming pool or deserted weight room in a forgotten corner of the complex. Community liaison employees at resorts like Predator Ridge organize regularly scheduled events so that property owners can meet and mingle on a regular basis. Sometimes there are additional fees for yoga or spin classes, but group hikes and travel presentations in the lounge or common area are often free of charge. Wine tastings, community barbecues, movie nights — the opportunities are endless when it comes to meeting new people and making an exciting transition to a new stage in your life.