Make a new life in Okanagan
Sonoma Pines the ‘new’ vacation home
If you’re familiar with vacation properties in the Okanagan, you might be forgiven for thinking that you’ve seen the Santa Fe-style ochre, tan, mustard and rust-hued homes of Sonoma Pines elsewhere in the valley.
The dazzling colour scheme is reminiscent of the Manteo Resort across the lake from Sonoma Pines. Developed by Kelowna’s Adrian Block and his Rykon Group, Manteo Resort Villas helped revitalize the Okanagan vacation home market when they first appeared in 1996 as a key component in a top-notch hotel and destination resort.
Block’s team is behind Sonoma Pines, which sits on a 92-acre property on the “lake side” of Highway 97 as it meanders through the new community of West Kelowna.
At Sonoma Pines, an expansive housing development that it is now in its sixth phase, the sales team is promoting what sales manager Shane Styles calls “the new Okanagan vacation home.” Now that some of the froth has been taken out of the Okanagan real estate market, Styles says that “people are really getting back to the basics.”
Sonoma Pines offers attrac- tively priced (and landscaped) detached houses and townhouses which offer a level entry to the main floor and master bedroom, a two-car garage, an unfinished basement, as well as maintenance-free landscaping and snow removal.
Prices for a 1,386-square-foot home start at $329,900, with size, location and the amenity packages among the boosters. For people who have trouble visualizing where their dream home will be in a wasteland of dirt and scrub brush, it’s important to note that Sonoma Pines has been a vibrant, active community since the first phase of single family homes was completed in 2002.
Though Sonoma Pines has been aggressively promoted throughout Western Canada, Styles says that well over half of the closings are due in some way to referrals from current residents.
“We put on a community barbecue back in June on a Friday afternoon and over 165 people came out for it,” he says.
If you vacation south of the border in the winter months, Sonoma Pines already has one dedicated RV storage lot and is considering building another.
Sonoma Pines is adjacent to the Two Eagles golf course, but not actually part of the development. It’s close to Okanagan Lake, several regional parks, and some of the region’s most renowned vineyards, but prices don’t reflect the premium paid for waterfront property or luxury golf properties found elsewhere in the region.
Styles says, “Many of the people purchasing here are fairly cost-conscious; they might live on a fixed income of some kind and might have had their RRSP investments recently compromised.”
Sonoma Pines offers wellbuilt homes — many with outstanding views — in a quiet, convenient location.
But not all of them are the classic near-retirement baby boomers. “We’re also attracting some younger professionals looking at their very first home purchase. There are no age restrictions at Sonoma Pines — these are people who looked around and couldn’t find better value in new home real estate,” Styles explains.
Regardless of age, sales at Sonoma Pines have bucked trends elsewhere in the Interior — 37 homes have been sold so far this year, and that has come without any discounting.
John and Jean Robins moved into their Sonoma Pines townhouse back in April. John, a retired sales executive from Walnut Grove in Langley, and his wife Jean looked at a lot of second home communities in the Okanagan and on Vancouver Island before choosing Sonoma Pines.
“It’s just a 3.5 hour drive from Langley to West Kelowna, so it’s easy to see our children and grandkids, who still live in the Fraser Valley,” John explains.
“We really thought it would be more expensive than it is. It has more than lived up to our expectations for value.”
The Robins also appreciate Sonoma Pines convenient location in the new West Kelowna community. “It’s close to every- thing that you could possibly want . . . and it’s incredibly quiet, too.”
The town homes at Sonoma Pines might offer the basics, but there’s an enormous amount of value in the stainless steel appliance package, stained, flat panel style kitchen cabinets with laminate counter tops, and the flooring combination of both ceramic (kitchen, entry foyer, all baths and laundry) and carpet (living room, bedrooms).
Other amenities include air conditioning and nine-foot ceilings. The spacious open plan can also accommodate a home office. Heated walkout basements can be finished to add extra space, and there are connections for a gas barbecue on the deck and an interior central vacuum system as well. While the basics for a great second home are there, options exist to add granite counter tops, hardwood flooring and finished basements. All Sonoma Pines home purchasers are offered a private appointment with a local interior designer to create their versions of the perfect vacation getaway.
Sonoma Pines sits on land leased from the local Westbank First Nations band, which has helped to keep prices affordable. “Over 250 Sonoma Pines homeowners have looked very closely at the lease agreement and are happy with the arrangement,” Styles comments. The developer will begin selling Phase 7 residences in September.
The living room of the Monterey model within the development.
Sonoma Pines is a multi-phase, new home community in West Kelowna on Okanagan Lake that’s located on Westbank First Nation land. The townhouses the developer is now selling start at $329,900 — an asking price that reflects the leasehold status of each...
The elegant yet functional kitchen within the Del Monaco model.