KAMLOOPS — Real estate is a hot topic in B.C. these days, and Kamloops is no different. With almost three full months remaining this year, new housing starts are 33% higher than predicted for 2016, and despite changes to Canadian mortgage rules announced yesterday in Ottawa, some in the local real estate game don’t see any sign of things slowing down, which mean’s it’s a good time to be a home builder in Kamloops.
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“We’re seeing lots of development in Juniper, in Aberdeen, in Bachelor Heights, up in Dufferin,” Kelly Reid, Vice President of the Central Interior chapter of the CHBA told CFJC Today. “All over the city, there’s development going on.”
So far in 2016, the city of Kamloops has seen significant growth in residential building permits issued, with a total of 503 single, and multi-family units permitted in the first 9 months of this year, compared to just 279 in the same period last year.
“We’ve had a few years where we’ve broken 500, but not too many,” said City of Kamloops Director of Development and Engineering, Marvin Kwiatkowski. “[That is] really high of course on the multi-family. We expected about 200 units, we’re at about 335. Even single family, we’re at 168.”
There’s a possibility things could slow down in the near future. Yesterday, the federal government announced some changes to the rules surrounding mortgages in Canada. These changes include stricter policies when it comes to lending, terms, and insuring mortgages, in response to the high housing prices in both Vancouver, and Toronto, and are meant to ensure borrowers aren’t stretched too thin once interest rates inevitably rise. Despite these changes, local realtor Tracy Moffett doesn’t expect it will affect the local market.
“From what I understand, they’re making the rules… stricter, when it comes to borrowing money, which is a good thing for the overall picture of the Canadian economy,” Moffett suggested. “I definitely think it’s the first time home buyers that may be affected the most.”
It seems the Vancouver market is cooling off on its own, after sales fell by almost one-third last month, compared to September 2015. Moffett sees the market change in the Lower Mainland as a possible positive for Kamloops.
“If anything, I think it may drive the Kamloops market,” Moffett said. “I think people… they’ll get to Vancouver, and they’ll go ‘Wow, we’ve got this tax imposed on us now. Let’s go look outside Vancouver.’ Which could bring more people to Kamloops.”
When you can offer views like the one Kelly Reid has at his building site in Juniper, for a fraction of the cost of many Lower Mainland communities, Kamloops is an easy sell for those looking to relocate.
“We’re seeing people who are selling out, and coming up here, and we’re seeing local people who are able to get into the market.”
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