Deadline to beat 'stress test' spurs hot Kamloops real estate market

By Vanessa Ybarra
November 2, 2017 - 5:36pm Updated: November 2, 2017 - 7:13pm

KAMLOOPS — The weather may be getting colder but real estate sales are heating up in Kamloops.

The latest stats show this past October saw a healthy increase in house sales compared to this time last year.

While demand from buyers in the Lower Mainland has played a big role in the spike, industry professionals say there are other factors at play.

Sold signs are a common site throughout Kamloops, with residential home sales up 15 per cent in October over October of last year.

"We had a fantastic month there's no doubt about that," said Doren Quinton, Vice President of the Kamloops and District Real Estate Association. "We've certainly seen a steady increase in demand and are continuing to see good sales."

Quinton says single detached homes made up the majority of October's increase, with out-of-towners accounting for at least a quarter of buyers.

"We're still seeing quite a number of people coming in from the Lower Mainland. The cost of living is a lot cheaper in Kamloops and we have all the amenities of other cities."

The Century 21 owner says stricter mortgage requirements that go into effect in the new year have also helped spur sales.

"That's going to require anyone putting 20 per cent down on a house to qualify for what they call a 'stress test' which is about two per cent above the going rate for mortages. Right now those people don't have to qualify for the stress-test rate so a lot of those people are starting to buy now to be able to lock in before the change."

Real estate stats show $350 to $450-thousand homes are most in demand, with Aberdeen, Westsyde and Brock seeing the most activity.

"It's pretty broad based. I was a little surprised to see Westsyde at the top of the chart but we're seeing good demand right across Kamloops."

Long-time Royal Lepage Westin Realty's Tracy Moffett says that demand, plus a shortage of listings, has led to homes going quickly.

"Last month I had a home in Brock that sold in a day," said Moffett. 

Moffett says while sales were particularly high last month, October is known to be a strong month.

"There's always a surge of people wanting to move in before the winter hits and the holidays and snow start so October is typically a better month for buying and selling homes."

As for what November will bring, Quintin says he expects much of the same

"There are a lot of transactions going through. It's a good time to be able to help people get into homes."

Snowfall warnings over, but still not great driving conditions