Residential development alive and well in Kamloops

By Vanessa Ybarra
January 6, 2017 - 5:11pm Updated: January 6, 2017 - 6:09pm

KAMLOOPS — 2016 shaped up to be a busy year for apartment construction in the city.

The Culos Development project across from Thompson Rivers University is one of three large-scale development projects that broke ground in 2016.

"Culos and the Kelson Group were two of the biggest apartment complexes we saw," said Jason Dixon, Building and Engineering Development Manager with the City of Kamloops.

The Culos complex is expected to add at least 100 units to Kamloops market, with the Kelson Group, as well a large-scale development in Dallas, providing at least another 200.

The City of Kamloops issued 295 apartment-unit building permits in 2016, which was a welcome surprise.

"For years we had no increase in apartment units," said Dixon. It's nice to see it. Development communities identified a market or a need, so we saw over double the number of issued permits from 2015."

Construction activity for 2016 topped $157 million.

Dixon says the cities low vacancy rate has played a large part in apartment development.

"We know vacancy rates have been very low and I think people have just identified an opportunity," added Dixon.

Up in Aberdeen, single family homes are the hot-ticket item.

Almost all 52 of the lots on Kinross Drive were scooped up in 2016,  with construction of the approximate $550 thousand homes expected to begin in the spring.

Project manager Chris Bebek says the cities relatively low building cost is propelling demand.

"It's less expensive to build here overall," said Bebek. "The cost of the lot itself, down in Vancouver you're looking at a minimum of $300 thousand per lot. Here our standard lots are under $200 thousand."

According to Bebek, all of the buyers of the Kinross Drive lots are Kamloops residents.

"I thought we would see the empty nesters who wanted to downsize and not build quite as big of a home. But most of them were young families."

While still early in the new year, city staff say they're optimistic permit demand will remain the same for 2017"

Prices are going up for everybody, so affordability is hard but I think from a development point of view, it's a good value," added Dixon. 

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