Featured Property: 2289 Linfield Drive, Aberdeen, Kamloops, B.C. $439,900

2289 Linfield Drive Aberdeen Kamloops HouseStunning open concept home located right beside elementary school. Main floor has a spacious living area including large living room with built in entertainment center & a gourmet kitchen with granite counters. Hardwood flooring & tile throughout including around the tub surround. Comes with high efficient furnace, humidifier & wired for security. High quality finishing throughout & 9 ft ceilings on both floors. Fully landscaped with underground sprinklers. This home is a must see!

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Featured Property: 2285 Linfield Drive, Aberdeen, Kamloops, B.C. $469,900

2285 Linfield Drive Aberdeen Kamloops for SaleThis stunning home has a dramatic entrance w/18 ft ceiling. Oversized living room has vaulted ceilings and large windows. Master bedroom ensuite has 2 sinks and separate tiled shower and soaker tub. Fully finished basement w/2 bedrooms. High quality finishing including granite counters, h/w floors and tile around tub on main floor. Incl high efficient furnace, humidifier, wired for alarm and satellite. 9 ft ceilings on both floors. Comes fully landscaped with u/g sprinklers. This home is a must see!

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Canada’s Real Estate Now More Affordable, Study Says

This article appeared on Realty Biz News on November 28th, 2011 and was written by Travis J. Hampton.

Kamloops Home For SaleHomes in Canada became a bit more affordable in the third quarter of 2011, according to a new report by RBC. Most parts of Canada saw a decrease in housing costs, with Vancouver being the one exception.

The index RBC uses calculates the affordability of housing at a given time. The lower the index, the more affordable homes are expected to be. In the third quarter of 2011, the amount of pre-tax household income a family would need to pay for home ownership went down across much of Canada. In Vancouver, however, home prices continued to be extremely high in wealthier neighborhoods.

The increase in affordability can be attributed to many factors, including the economic crisis in Europe, which has kept interest rates low. Experts at RBC expect prices to level off sometime next year, and those few places where prices increased (Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa) will also start to see some stability in their home affordability.

“Housing affordability levels are quite good in most parts of Canada and will pose little threat to overall housing demand,” said Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist.

The affordability index takes into account a number of factors beyond just the sticker price. It includes actual mortgage payments, utilities, and property taxes. It then formulates an affordability reading percentage, which indicates the amount of pre-tax monthly household it would take to cover those home ownership expenses. While Toronto and Montreal have an index of 52.1% and 40.9% respectively, Vancouver’s index is 90.6%.


Canadian Housing Frothier than U.S. at Peak: Economist

This article appeared on the Globe and Mail on November 24th, 2011 and was written by Michael Babad.

A new study of global housing markets by The Economist warns that markets in Canada and some other countries still appear “uncomfortably overvalued.” Indeed, the magazine calls it downright frothy in its latest update of house prices indicators.

Overall, the report shows prices falling in eight of 16 countries studied in terms of a price-to-income ratio, which measures affordability, and a price-to-rent ratio.

By averaging the two readings, The Economist warns that prices are overvalued by 25 per cent or more in Canada, Australia, Belgium, France, New Zealand, Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden and the ever-unfortunate Spain.

Here’s a really troubling bit: For Canada, Australia, Belgium and France, housing “looks more overvalued than it was in America at the peak of its bubble.”

The magazine notes that some economists dismiss its measures, citing the fact that lower interest rates – Canada is such an example – can justify fatter prices because they allow heftier mortgages. The magazine responds to that just as Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney and others have: It will not always be thus, and rates will inevitably rise.

Here’s another warning, also along the lines of what we’ve been told for months now: “Australia, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and Sweden all have even higher household-debt burdens in relation to income than America did at the peak of its bubble.”

Canadian housing markets have been cooling down, and many forecasters project a continued softening, though not a crash.


Still No Takers for Tobiano Resort

This article appeared in the Kamloops This Week on November 24th, 2011 and was written by Jeremy Deutsch.

Tobiano Golf Resort Kamloops Real EstateIt’s been nearly five months since Tobiano resort went into receivership, but there are still no takers for the financially struggling development.

The resort was put on the market in September, with a deadline for offers by the end of that month, but there were no significant bids.

Douglas Chivers, a representative with the Bowra Group, which was appointed receiver of Tobiano by the court, said despite the lack of interest, the resort will continue to run business as usual.

“We intend to continue to develop the resort and sell off the lots and the other properties and see what interest can be generated,” he said, adding the award-winning golf course will be open next season.

Chivers said it isn’t a surprise interest in the resort has been minimal given the current real-estate market, noting several other troubled developments in Interior have also received little attention from buyers.

Word of the resort’s financial woes broke in June, after the real-estate side of the resort and golf course was ordered into receivership by a B.C. Supreme Court.

Pagebrook Inc. and Kamlands Holdings Ltd., companies owned by developer Mike Grenier, owe the Bank of Montreal debts totalling roughly $26 million.

In August, a representative with the Jim Pattison Group, which owns a 13-acre parcel of land within Tobiano, where it hopes to one day build townhomes, told KTW it’s unlikely such a project will get started any time soon.

Since the summer, the receiver has managed to sell five lots at Tobiano and continues work on trying to get some form of a marina in place.

The financial downfall of the resort was in part blamed on the inability by the developer to secure funding to build a marina.

Chivers said the Bowra Group has no intention to stop marketing Tobiano, but said getting some type of building activity at the resort is key to a sale.

“The more activity up there, the more people come to it, the more attractive it is,” he said.


Featured Property: 660 Sandstone Place, Westsyde, Kamloops, B.C. $439,900

Kamloops Real Estate 660 Sandstone Place Westsyde Gorgeous quality built two bedroom and den rancher. This amazing home has elegant vaulted ceilings throughout and a beautiful grand entry. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet, fireplace and magnificent 6 piece ensuite with his and her sinks, double soaker tub and large double shower. Other features in this amazing home include a beautifully redone kitchen, spacious living room, multi zone speaker system including speakers on patio and in garage, central vac, intercom system, birch hardwood floors and ceramic tiling throughout, wet bar and den/sitting room. Extras include underground sprinklers, private yard professionally landscaped for privacy with covered patios off both kitchen and master bedroom, double garage, golf cart garage/shop, storage shed, hot water hook up outside for washing vehicles, natural gas hook up for BBQ, new roof, hot water on demand and newer heat pump. Home is very energy efficient.

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Westsyde Residents Cheer Mall Redevelopment

This article appeared in the Kamloops Daily News on November 15th, 2011.

Over the past two decades, Westsyde residents watched with melancholy resignation as stores closed at their mall and buildings fell into disrepair.

On Tuesday evening they greeted Overwaitea Food Group’s plans for redevelopment of Westsyde Mall with cheers and clapping. The company unveiled plans to a meeting of about 150 enthusiastic residents gathered at the Hamlets at Westsyde, who are clamouring for new life in the tired mall.

Tom Munro, vice-president of real estate and store development with Overwaitea Food Group, told the meeting the firm expects to start with demolition and construction in April next year. The existing store will be temporarily cut in half to allow shopping to continue while rebuilding on the same footprint is underway.

Refurbishment of Cooper’s Foods is at the heart of the project. Overwaitea Food Group purchased the grocery chain developed in Kamloops more than a decade ago. The Westsyde location is the final Cooper’s Foods to be updated with a look now familiar at other stores.

The proposed redeveloped store is about 25,000 square feet, the same size as current location.

The company is also actively seeking other tenants for what today is a half-empty mall that hasn’t been updated for decades. “We’d love to have a Tim Hortons and we’re working on that,” Munro said to applause. Other targets are a pharmacy, McDonalds Restaurant or Dairy Queen. A bank or credit union will also be sought, but Munro added “it isn’t likely.”

Residents said they were glad to see the investment. “I’m happy,” declared Herb Tarzwell, who has lived in the community for 17 years. “The previous owners never really looked after it. They hadn’t done any maintenance. It will be nice.”

Steve Delaney, a director of the local residents’ association, said the redevelopment is long overdue. “I’ve been here since 1975 and it’s deteriorated ever since,” he said. “We had a bank, a drug store… but everything moved up top to Aberdeen.”

Another resident, Patty Messmer, called the current mall “pretty sad.” “This is a big community out here. If this (current mall) is what represents Westsyde, it’s pathetic.”

Current tenants include Cooper’s Foods, a government liquor store, Home Hardware outlet, a hair salon and Chinese food restaurant. A number of storefronts are empty.

While Messmer said she’s pleased to see the plans, she worries about some current businesses. Munro acknowledged some tenants don’t have leases and are operating month-to-month. “I hope they don’t get priced out,” she said.

Munro declined to place a cost on the redevelopment. The current mall is about 60,000 square feet and will eventually, through a number of phases, be redeveloped to about the same size.

Delaney said he hopes the upgraded mall and new tenants will keep more residents shopping at home. “If it’s only $4 more here, it’s still cheaper to pay it than to drive into the city to get it.”

Purchase of the mall by the company comes after it failed to get an agreement on a nearby piece of land owned by Ron Cooper, whose family started Cooper’s Foods. Cooper and the company remain business partners at other locations.


Aberdeen Plan Gets Council’s Approval

This article appeared in the Kamloops This Week on November 17th, 2011 and was written by Jeremy Deutsch.

Kamloops Real Estate Aberdeen ViewA little piece of Scotland will soon be coming to the Tournament Capital.

City council has unanimously approved a set of rezoning applications for a large residential development at the end of Bentall Drive in upper Aberdeen.

The developer, DA Taylor Holdings, is planning to turn a 34-hectare parcel of land into a 500- to 800-single and multi-family-unit development centred around a mixed-use commercial Scottish-themed neighbourhood village called Edinburgh Heights.

Though some residents at the public hearing on Tuesday night (Nov. 15) expressed concerns over traffic, parking and the types of commercial businesses being considered, council appeared enthusiastic about the project.

Mayor Peter Milobar said the development is much more comprehensive then what was first proposed a few years ago, adding concerns around traffic will be alleviated.

He said the development will be unique and offer a different product to the housing market in Kamloops.

“A bit of variety is always a good thing in the marketplace,” Milobar said.

Coun. Pat Wallace said she liked the densification of the project and the opportunity to have a “European mini-city” within Kamloops.

She is also confident the developer will resolve the traffic and parking issues to most residents’ satisfaction.

Jeremy Cooke, project director with DA Taylor Holdings, said the next step is to finish road work at the east end of Bentall Drive, which could begin in spring 2012, and complete the master plan for the property.

He noted the entire project could take 10 to 15 years to complete.

Cooke said the intention is to build a people-oriented community that not only has good looking buildings, but is also functional.

“It’s turning it into a village where people can actually live day-to-day,” he said.

“Kamloops needs something like this right now — a walking, living community.”

The developer had worked with the city for more than a year to have the project comply with Aberdeen Neighbourhood Plan.

In 2007, DA Taylor Holdings announced plans to develop a 400-acre parcel of land into Edinburgh Heights, which would resemble a village in the Scottish countryside.

The vision included pockets of houses dotting the hillside, separated by open plains, English-style lampposts, narrow, windy streets and low brick walls lining the sidewalks.

Council of the day was cool to the plan, in part due to concerns the project didn’t have enough high-density units.

The new plan adds more density to the development on the eastern benches of Bentall Drive, while scrapping what would have been two-acre parcels of land.


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