Kamloops City Council Identifies a Problem at Loma Bella in Lower Sahali

This article is written by Jeremy Deutsch and appeared in the Friday, January 14th, 2011 edition of the Kamloops This Week.

Kamloops Real Estate Loma Bella The condo-unit owner at the centre of a building-code dispute between the city and a strata is applauding the move by council to slap the entire building with a notice to warn potential buyers.

Richard McElroy, the owner of a unit in the Loma Bella condo units in Sahali, said he’s been battling with various groups, including National Home Warranty, builder Mike Rink and his own strata, to get a settlement problem with his unit fixed.

He said the decision by city council should help put pressure on all the interested parties to fix the problem. “Finally, some sunlight and some wisdom,” McElroy told KTW. “Council in their wisdom has put us all in the same boat now as a strata.”

City council decided to put notices — referred to as Section 57 — against all 16 units in the development, due to outstanding building-code violations and to reduce the potential liability against the city.

The notice, which is filed with the Kamloops Land Title Office and is meant to warn potential purchasers of the problems, can be lifted once the repairs are complete.

The saga began after settlement issues on McElroy’s unit were discovered in 2007. What has followed is a legal mess around who is responsible for the repairs, which finally culminated in the city moving to put the notice on the strata at the end of last year.

A representative of Loma Bella’s strata appeared in front of city council on Tuesday, Jan. 11, asking for another 30 days to deal with the issue. The strata rep suggested it wasn’t fair for the entire building to get a notice when only one unit is involved. But council wasn’t convinced.

Mayor Peter Milobar argued the issue has been ongoing for years and an extra month isn’t going to get the problem solved, noting there hasn’t been much agreement between the sides involved. He said council too often hears from people who buy property with a problem, and then complain they weren’t alerted by the city before the purchase. “We know there is a problem. We know it needs to be repaired,” Milobar said. “My concern is that future purchasers know that there is a potential liability there for them.”

He also suggested the easiest way to ensure the repairs are done is to make sure everyone is aware of the violation and have a vested interest in a resolution.

As for McElroy, he said he’s felt like a hostage through this situation, noting he can’t rent or sell the unit because of the possible dangers. “It’s been really frustrating,” he said. The cost of repairs to the unit are estimated at be $100,000.

Featured Property: 1082 Saddleback Court, Batchelor Heights, Kamloops $589,900

Batchelor Heights Kamloops House 1082 Saddleback Crt Sophisticated, elegant & contemporary, this newer 6 bedroom, 5 bathroom home offers you quality finishings throughout. Main floor has open plan living including expansive floor space in both living & dining areas with vaulted ceilings. Stunning gourmet kitchen with dark cabinets & large centre island. 4 bedrooms on the main level with the large master having a gorgeous river view, coffered ceiling & spa-like ensuite including a 2 person Jacuzzi tub & fully tiled shower. Luxury features abound in this home including granite countertops, crown mouldings, 3 sets of French doors with transoms, hardwood flooring, polished tile, lush carpet & high end lighting package. Lower level features a self contained suite that can be configured as a 1 or 2 bedroom. Security system, hot water on demand, heat pump, high efficiency furnace are just some of the practical aspects that ensure this home is the perfect choice for you. Backing onto greenspace with fully a large fenced yard.

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To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

Open House Weekend: Saturday, January 15 and Sunday, January 16, 2011: Aberdeen, Batchelor Heights, Brocklehurst, Pineview Valley, Upper Sahali and Westsyde

On January 15th and 16th, 2011 open houses will be held in Aberdeen, Batchelor Heights, Brocklehurst, Pineview Valley, Upper Sahali and Westsyde.

2255 Linfield drive aberdeen highlands real estate kamloopsSaturday, January 15th, 2011: 11:30-1:00: 2255 Linfield Drive, Aberdeen, $439,900

This brand new view home is located in Aberdeen’s newest subdivision Aberdeen Highlands. It is located right beside a golf course and elementary school. more

1927 Englemann Crt Pineview Valley Kamloops House For SaleSaturday, January 15th, 2011: 11:30-1:00: 1927 Englemann Court, Pineview Valley, $449,900

Beautiful two-storey home located in a quite cul-de-sac in Pineveiw Valley. The main floor features Acadian Walnut hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, slate fire place, and a bright dining room. more

Kamloops Homes For Sale 2620 Briarwood Ave West Briar Estates Saturday, January 15th, 2011: 1:30-3:00: 2620 Briarwood Avenue, Brocklehurst, $427,900

Beautiful custom four level split home in West Briar Estates. There are 4 lg bedrooms and 3 full baths. The main great room area has high 16 ft vaulted ceilings & numerous windows. Mountain views from many rooms. more

Kamloops BC Real Estate MLS Listing 1189 Howe Rd Aberdeen Saturday, January 15th, 2011: 1:30-3:00: 1189 Howe Road, Aberdeen, $314,900

This Aberdeen doll house has had numerous updates over the past couple years. All the flooring (porcelain tile and laminate) and windows were recently replaced, new hot water tank and it has a fresh coat of paint throughout. more

Kamloops Home Sale 490 Garibaldi Drive Upper Sahali Sunday, January 16th, 2011: 12:00-1:30: 490 Garibaldi Drive, Upper Sahali, $316,900

Solid Sahali home in nice & quiet family area. Huge fenced yard & lots of parking. Numerous updates include roof, paint, flooring, bathroom, kitchen, newer appliances & more. Large sundeck more

Batchelor Heights Kamloops Home 1547 Hillcrest Avenue Sunday, January 16th, 2011: 1:30-3:00, 1547 Hillcrest Avenue, Batchelor Heights, $339,900

This solid Batchelor Heights home has a beautiful sprawling view of the city & river valley below. 3 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms including a master bedroom en-suite. This home has a large in-ground pool in the private back yard. more.

152-2400 Oakdale mobile home kamloops westsyde bc Sunday, January 16th, 2011: 2:15-3:15, 152-2400 Oakdale Way, Westsyde $64,900

Bright & tidy home in the popular Oakdale mobile home park. 3 bedrooms with a large rec room & a 4 piece bathroom with a jacuzzi tub. Recent updates incl. fresh paint, some flooring, roof, windows, doors, HW tank, new fridge & stove. more

Click here to view more pictures of these homes.

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

Featured Property: 2090 Van Horne Drive, Aberdeen, Kamloops, B.C. $369,900

Aberdeen Kamloops Home For Sale Real Estate 2090 Van Horne Drive

Private & spacious 2,800 square foot, 3 level split home in desirable Aberdeen. There are 5 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms, including one ensuite. Recent updates include outside vinyl “chic” paint with a 20 year warranty, kitchen counter, tile flooring & 95% efficiency furnace. Roof is 13 yrs old. Laundry room, 2 piece bathroom, bedroom & large family room with maple hard wood flooring & fireplace on the main floor. A large games room, rec room, bedroom & tons of storage downstairs in 25×20 storage space. There is a sunken living room, formal dining room. Three bedrooms above the main with a three piece master ensuite and a four piece main bathroom. Very private park-like backyard. Large 2 car garage, security system & extra driveway parking. Walking distance to Aberdeen Elementary school & very close to transportation. Close to shopping, restaurants & numerous amenities. All appliances included.

Click here to view more pictures of this home.

Click here to view the virtual tour

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

Mortgage Rate Forecast for 2011: B.C. Real Estate Association

The B.C. Real Estate Association published their mortgage rate outlook in December 2010 looking forward into 2011. I have included the full PDF link at the bottom of this article. The full PDF includes charts and graphics that are not included in this post.

Following a period of relative calm, global financial markets have again been unsettled by fiscal instability in Europe and uncertainty regarding the Federal Reserves’ ability to spur the US economy out of its current doldrums. Amidst this economic backdrop, key government bond yields have reversed their downward trend, moving sharply higher. In our final mortgage rate forecast of 2010, we discuss what these trends mean for mortgage rates over the coming year.

Growth and Inflation Outlook

The Canadian economy has slowed sharply following a blistering start to the year. Real GDP growth was just 1% in the third quarter, down from the 2% growth posted in the second quarter. Much of the drag in Canadian economic activity is due to continued weakness in the United States and other export markets, though domestic demand has also begun to soften. We expect these trends to hamper growth for the remainder of 2010 and into 2011. A sharper than expected slowing of the economy has prompted us to trim our forecast of real GDP growth to 2.9% this year and 2.1% in 2011.

Moderate economic growth in 2011 will translate to continued slack in Canadian product and labour markets. This slack, along with a strong loonie, will provide a bulwark against inflation and therefore a continuation of accommodative monetary policy by the Bank of Canada.

Interest Rate Outlook

In the face of slowing growth, muted inflation and lingering global financial instability, the Bank of Canada has held its overnight rate at 1.00% since September. Although the Bank’s medium-term objective of returning rates to normal long-run levels is still intact, the Bank will take a very cautious approach to tightening monetary policy over the next 6 to 12 months. Given that inflation is projected to remain subdued and growth is expected to slow, we do not expect any action from the Bank of Canada until the second quarter of 2011, if not later.

Our current forecast is for the Bank of Canada’s target overnight rate to rise from its current level of 1.00% to between 1.75% – 2.00% by the end of 2011. Moving down the yield curve there are a number of factors muddying the outlook for interest rates important to mortgage pricing.

First and foremost is the impact of the US Federal Reserve’s implementation of further quantitative easing, or so called “QE2”. In early November the Federal Reserve announced that its new quantitative easing program would expend up to $600 billion by the end of June 2011 in order to help spur the flagging US economy. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke outlined three explicit goals of this policy:
• Lower mortgage rates for US homebuyers to increase affordability and promote refinancing
• Lower corporate bond rates to encourage private investment and boost economic growth
• Increase asset prices to boost consumer wealth and increase confidence.

To that list, we would add two further unstated, but not unwelcome, goals. The first being the engineering of a lower US dollar to spur American exports, and the second, a much needed change in the path of inflation from its current and potentially devastating “Japan-like” disinflationary trend. However, a curious thing has happened since the official announcement of QE2, the yield on 5-year US Government Bonds – along with its Canadian counterpart – has risen substantially. This reversal in yields has erased a large portion of the beneficial fall in rates since QE2 was first hinted at in August. It isn’t immediately clear what is driving the sudden change in the direction of interest rates.

Analysts have pointed to culprits ranging from a foreign backlash against QE2 to a welcome increase in future inflation expectations. Given that QE2 is only in its beginning stages, it is likely too early to say with any certainty how rates will evolve in coming months. What is certain is that volatility in bond markets is likely to be around a while longer.

Mortgage Rate Forecast

The unexpected rise in yields prompted a fairly dramatic repricing of mortgages in November. After falling to an all-time low of 5.19%, the 5-year mortgage rate has leapt 25bps to 5.44% while the 1-year rate increased from 3.20% to 3.35%. Heightened volatility in bond markets could mean a re-testing of mortgage rates lows, particularly if a deepening Euro-crisis prompts a flight to safety in US and Canadian treasuries. A more likely outcome is that mortgage rates will stay flat for the next quarter as investors re-evaluate growth and inflation expectations in the context of a QE2 world.

Our expectation for 2011 is that rates will begin a slow march upwards, hovering slightly higher than current levels for the first half of 2011. Rates will then be prompted higher by expectations of renewed, but cautious, rate tightening by the Bank of Canada in the second half of next year. The BCREA forecast for the 1-year mortgage rate to average 3.3% in 4th quarter of 2010 and to reach 4.4% by the end of 2011. The 5-year fixed mortgage rate will average 5.30% for the 4th quarter of 2010 before increasing to 5.90% in 2011.

In 2011 The Canadian Real Estate Market to Resemble 2010: The Canadian Press

This article appeared on January 6th, 2011 on CTV.ca.

TORONTO — The Canadian real estate market will follow a similar pattern this year as that seen in 2010 as buyers pull sales forward into the early months in anticipation of higher interest rates, according to a report from one of Canada’s largest real estate firms.

The aftershocks of the recession, including a lingering low interest rate environment, will continue to influence the Canadian real estate market in 2011 — a year that will be stronger than expected, said the report released Thursday by Royal LePage.

Royal LePage predicts that average home prices will rise three per cent to $348,600 in 2011, driven largely by a rush to buy in the first half of the year in advance of anticipated interest and mortgage rate hikes in the second half.

“Canadians realize that interest rates are unsustainably low and that homes will become effectively more expensive when mortgage rates return to normal levels,” said Phil Soper, president of Royal LePage.

“2011 is expected to unfold much like 2010, when close to 60 per cent of sales volume occurred in the first half of the year in anticipation of interest rate increases that never materialized.”

However, the number of transactions will be slightly lower than last year and activity will be modestly closer to the norm because the pull forward phenomenon last year was exacerbated by a tightening of mortgage qualification rules and the introduction of the HST in Ontario and British Columbia in the middle of the year.

Soper said the extension of low mortgage rates will be an unexpected boon to the market this year.

“Like many Canadians, we anticipated an end to the ultra-low interest rate era before year-end 2010,” he said.

“Paradoxically, global economic weakness, particularly in the United States, allowed policy-makers and financial institutions to keep borrowing costs low, resulting in a stronger Canadian housing market and a better than forecast fourth quarter.”

Average house prices rose between 3.9 per cent and 4.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010, while price appreciation is expected to continue a moderate and steady climb throughout the current year.

The report contrasts with some recent predictions by economists that prices should remain flat or decline over the next year.

The Canadian Real Estate Association has predicted prices will fall by 1.3 per cent to a national average of $326,000, this year, tied to weakness in British Columbia and Ontario — the hottest real estate markets of 2010. It has also forecasted a nine per cent decline in sales.

CREA has yet to release year-end data for 2010, but preliminary reports from two of the biggest markets, Toronto and Vancouver, released this week indicate 2010 declined as expected.

Sales were down by one per cent compared with 2009 in Toronto, while the average home selling price was $431,463, up nine per cent from 2009.

In Vancouver, sales declined 14.2 per cent from 2009, and were 10.3 per cent below the 10-year average for sales in the region. The average selling price in B.C.’s largest city was up 2.7 per cent at $577,808.

Canada’s real estate market has been on a rebound over much of the past year after sales dried up in late 2008 and hit a multi-year low in January 2009.

The housing market’s sudden plunge was sparked by a credit crunch that developed in the U.S. housing and lending industries, and gradually spread across the globe, causing a worldwide recession in the late summer and early fall of 2009.

The commercial real estate market experienced a similar plunge as investors lost confidence in the sector.

However, the commercial market, which includes office and retail spaces, had a stronger than expected year in 2010 and that momentum is projected to strengthen throughout 2011, according to a report released Thursday by CB Richard Ellis Ltd.

Some market observers had predicted a glut of vacancies in Canada’s major business centres, but that didn’t happen, said John O`Bryan, vice-chairman of CB Richard Ellis Canada.

We`ve had good news over the past twelve months with respect to interest rates, housing trends and employment gains, with many companies announcing plans for expansion, he wrote in the report.

“2011 may well be another good, stable year but should be viewed with cautious optimism in light of the concentration in employment growth on part-time jobs rather than the full-time positions that indicate confidence in long-term, sustainable growth.”


Kamloops City Handed Out $191-million Worth of Building Permits in 2010

This article was written by Jeremy Deutsch and appeared in Kamloops This Week on January 7th, 2011.

It wasn’t a record, but it was pretty close. By the end of 2010, the city had handed out $191-million worth of building permits, eclipsing 2009’s total of $160 million by more than $30 million.

The city had originally estimated between $120 and $140 million worth of building permits to be taken out in 2010. “It’s a lot better year than we thought,” said David Trawin, the city’s director of development and engineering, adding Kamloops is doing “exceptionally well” compared to other communities in the province.

He attributed the growth in 2010 to a rise in the amount of residential construction around Kamloops, particularly single-family units. The number of residential permits — which includes single-family and multi-family units for 2010 — jumped to 660 from 430 in 2009. Of those residential permits, 300 were for single-family units, more than double 2009 totals.

It was such a busy year at city hall, there is extra money for city council to consider during upcoming budget discussions.

The development and engineering department built up an operating surplus of $1 million from the unexpected boost in construction. Trawin said it will be up to council to to decide what it wants to do with the extra cash.

The city is also taking another conservative approach to its estimates for 2011. Trawin said he expects his department to hand out between $120- and $130-million in building permits. He said the prediction is based on discussions with builders in the city, but noted that number could be larger if a couple of big potential projects come through this year.

However, Trawin wouldn’t divulge the details of the potential developments.

The city has only topped $200 million in permits once — in 2008. In that year, the city doled out $207 million worth of permits, which was a record. Before the beginning of summer, the city handed out $222.5 million in permits for 883 dwelling units in a 12-month period. That proved to be a record.

Kamloops Real Estate: B.C. Property Assessments Ease Up for 2011

This article appeared in the Friday, January 7th, 2011 issue of Kamloops This Week . Many of my clients have experienced an increase in their home’s assessed value. I find it interesting that the majority of them are listed either below their home’s assessed value (some significantly) or very close to the assessed value. Will BC Assessment continue to increase Kamloops home values even though real estate prices have not continued up? This makes it very confusing for home owners wanting to sell their homes especially when the assessed value is much higher than the asking price.

Large jumps in property values around the Tournament Capital that likely caused shock to most residents during the mid-point of the last decade are a thing of the past. For the second year in a row, the majority of Kamloops homeowners will see a modest increase in their property assessments.

According to BC Assessment, the average property owner of a single-family dwelling will likely see their property value increase by 4.7 per cent. Some 33,000 assessment notices in Kamloops for 2011 were sent out this week. The biggest change was in the downtown, where the average property jumped to $392,484 from $348,347, or about 12 per cent.

Other neighbourhoods around town saw more modest increases in assessments. “There was no hot spot in particular in Kamloops,” said Graham Held, a deputy assessor with BC Assessment.

Homes in Sahali and Aberdeen increased to $412,925 from $389,311 , East Kamloops including Juniper Ridge, Dallas and Barnhartvale were up to $394,653 from $375,069 and Batchelor Heights rose to $373,769 from $364,014.

Held said the city isn’t seeing the big market movement of years past, suggesting a diverse economic base in Kamloops has contributed to stability in the real estate market.

The overall assessment roll for the city increased to $13.5 billion from $12.9 billion the previous year. Last year, a majority of property owners in Kamloops were looking at an increase of up to 20 per cent on their 2010 assessments.

It was only a couple of years ago property owners were seeing assessments jump by more than 20 per cent year-after-year. Due to the economic meltdown at the end of 2008, the province decided to put what amounted to a freeze on property assessments for 2009.

There is recourse for residents who are unhappy with their property assessment. They can challenge their assessment by speaking to the appraisal staff or submit a written request by the end of January for an independent review by an assessment panel. The panel will be hearing complaints starting in February and running until March 15.

However, Held encourages residents to go to BC Assessment’s website bcassessment.ca to do as much analysis on their own. He noted a little less than two per cent of assessments in Kamloops end up being disputed.


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