Canada’s Real Estate Outperforms Globally: Report

This article appeared on the Vancouver Sun’s Website on December 20th, 2011 and was written by Tracy Sherlock.

Kamloops Homes For Sale SignCanada’s real estate market is strong compared to its global counterparts, but the boom has lasted longer than in most other countries and shows signs of waning, a Scotiabank report said.

“The Canadian housing market remains an outperformer among advanced nations, with real home prices up 4.8 per cent year over year in [the third quarter],” Scotiabank’s Global Real Estate Trends report said. “While the sector’s continued buoyancy is impressive, monthly data through November suggest prices have levelled off since the spring, with conditions in the majority of local markets in ‘balanced’ territory.”

The report credits “ultralow” interest rates with continuing to attract buyers, while economic uncertainty and some recent slowing in hiring are possible dampers on demand in Canada. Canada is at the top of the 10 countries included in the report. Five countries — the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Spain and (to a lesser extent) Italy — show average house prices significantly lower than their peak values, while the other five countries — Canada, Australia, France, Sweden and Switzerland — still show average prices at or near record highs.

The cycle of rising real home prices is long, lasting on average 12 years, according to the Scotiabank report.

“Italy’s boom was the shortest at eight years, while Ireland and Sweden count 15 years. Canada’s ongoing housing boom is in its 13th year,” the report states.

Canada’s house prices did not rise as steeply as those in other countries, with inflation-adjusted average home prices up 85 per cent since 1998, according to the report.

“Canada’s residential real estate boom started several years later than many of its counterparts, with the economy still feeling the effects of the deep recession of the early 1990s and weak labour markets through mid-decade,” the report says.


Pritchard, Kamloops, B.C. Real Estate

Kamloops Acreage For SalePritchard Farmland For Sale BC KamloopsPritchard is located 30 minutes or 39 kilometers south east of the City of Kamloops. The majority of the properties in Pritchard are small to large acreages. There is one area where smaller city lots exist (approximately 0.25 acre lots) and are largely dominated by modular or manufactured homes. Pritchard is a rural area with few amenities close. There are a lot of recreational, outdoor activities that are easily accessible in Pritchard area.


Pritchard BC Kamloops BridgeThe Pritchard Bridge spans the South Thompson River connecting the residents of the North side of the river with the South shore and highway. The Pritchard bridge is a wooden stringer system and has an opening at it’s highest point to allow boats to pass under. The bridge was constructed in the early 1900’s and it is a single lane bridge with large pull outs so oncoming traffic can pass. The bridge will support heavier loads as it does have a concrete deck and allows for logging trucks to pass over.

Properties & Real Estate

Pritchard BC Real Estate For SaleThe area of Pritchard is located along Highway #1 East of the City of Kamloops. This area is split by the Highway, one area of Pritchard rests at the valley bottom along the South Thompson River and the other area of Pritchard stretches into the southern hills and mountains. The smaller residential lots are located at the valley bottom across the Pritchard bridge on Decamillis Road, Bostock Crescent, Gerella Road, Gore Road, Anker Road and Foort Road to name a few.

Predominantly, large acreages are found on the south side of the river off of Duck Range Road, Martin Prarie Road (main roads in this area of Pritchard) as well as Harrison Road, Schamps Road and Stark Road. Most of the acreages are located on the south side of Pritchard. There are a few medium and large sized acreages spread on the Northern side of Pritchard off of Pinantan Pritchard Road, Pinantan Road and Kamloops-Shuswap Road.


The only shopping in this area is the Pritchard store located at the corner of the Trans Canada Highway #1 and Martin Prarie Road. Along with basic necessities the Prtichard store offers spirits and liquor as well. The closest shopping to Pritchard is Chase which is 18.5 kilometers east of Pritchard or Kamloops which is 39 kilometers west of Pritchard. There are some smaller shopping centres west of Pritchard such as the new Town Centre in Dallas (opening in 2012) that is 27.2 kilometers and shopping in Valleyview (Coopers, Shoppers Drug Mart, Dollar Store, TD, Interior Savings and other retailers) that is 34 kilometers from Pritchard.

There are local farmers that offer fresh foods in the area as well.


All school aged children are taken to school by bus. To view school information for this area click here.


Pritchard BC Residential Real EstateThere are a number of outdoors activities to enjoy in the Pritchard area. In the summer it is easy to power boat from Pritchard, up the south Thompson River to Shuswap Lake. There are a number of fishing lakes in the area, cross country skiing, off road adventures on ATV, dirtbike or snowmobile, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking and hiking.

Click here to view properties for sale in Pritchard.

To read more about other neighbourhoods click the link below:

Aberdeen                                          Barnhartvale                          Batchelor Heights

Brocklehurst                                    Campbell Creek                      Dallas

Deloro/South Thompson Valley      Cherry Creek                       Dufferin/Southgate

Heffley                                                Knutsford                               Juniper Heights

North Kamloops                           Paul Lake/Pinantan Lake        Pineview

Pritchard                                            Rayleigh                                  Sahali

South Kamloops/Downtown         Sun Rivers                               Sun Peaks/Whitecroft

Valleyview/Rose Hill                      Westmount                             Westsyde

Surrounding Communities

Barriere                                        Mclure/Vinsula                         Savona/Tobiano

Kamloops Mortgage Info: That Low-Rate Mortgage Could Actually Cost You More

Brenda Colman Invis Kamloops Mortgage BrokerCheapest is not always best. We know that’s true when we’re shopping for anything else. But we still tend to believe that lowest rate is the one and only factor in choosing a mortgage. Most Canadian homeowners would be shocked to discover that their low-rate mortgage could actually cost them more in the long run.

Why? Because the right mortgage is about a lot more than just rate.

It’s true that even a small reduction in rate can mean interest savings over the life of your mortgage. And mortgage brokers are experts at seeking out competitive rates from a wide range of lenders. But they also look deeper. Sometimes those cut-rate mortgages come with higher fees, penalties, or restrictive terms, which could prove more costly over the long term than a slightly higher-rate mortgage with flexible terms.

One of the best ways to save interest, for example, is to use pre-payment options. If you get a quarterly bonus, a tax refund, or a seasonal income boost, then you have some excellent opportunities to slash your mortgage costs. Putting extra money against your mortgage principal could save you thousands of dollars in interest. If your cut-rate mortgage doesn’t permit pre-payments, that’s a huge missed opportunity.

Also watch for low-rate “teasers”: cut-rate mortgages with a short timeline. Sometimes a lender will offer a rate that is good for just 30 days, after which the rate will jump. If closing takes a little longer, or there’s a glitch in documentation, then you need to be prepared with a backup plan. These teasers can be stressful – and not always the best deal anyway.

An accredited independent mortgage broker will determine the features and privileges that best meet your personal situation, looking at:

·        Refinancing penalties
·        Fixed vs variable rate
·        Term
·        Pre-payment options
·        Payment flexibility
·        Restrictions
·        Fees
·        Portability
·        Assumability

Most people spend more time choosing the right car than choosing the right mortgage, although it’s likely the largest expense they’ll likely ever undertake.

Make sure you have a mortgage that is custom-built for your personal situation. Cheapest isn’t always best. And obviously the most expensive mortgage is rarely the best choice either. But the right combination of rate and features – matched to your needs – is the fastest route to mortgage freedom. It’s your mortgage broker’s job to help you with that route-planning: a map for your financial future.

Brenda Colman, AMP, Mortgage Consultant, Invis Kamloops
P. 250-318-8118  E. ac.sivninull@namlocadnerb W.

Featured Property: 251 Waddington Drive, Upper Sahali, Kamloops, B.C. $375,000

Upper Sahali Kamloops BC 251 Waddington DriveLots of updates in this centrally located Sahali home with a view. Within walking distance to schools, transportation & shopping. 3 bedrooms on the main floors & 1 down. Spacious master bedroom with an ensuite. French doors off of the kitchen leading to a huge covered deck that overlooks the yard. Large, private parklike yard that is fully fenced. Deck has a gas BBQ hookup. Large rec room down with laundry. Extra long double garage 21×23. Recent upgrades include high efficiency furnace, hot water tank, insulation, new windows, roof, some upgraded flooring & paint.

Click here to view more pictures of this property.

Click here to view the video tour of this home.

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

Builders Hoping Single-Family Orders Pick Up in 2012

This article appeared on the Kamloops Daily News on December 23rd, 2011.

Kamloops New HomeMulti-family housing and home renovations kept builders busy in 2011, says the president of the Canadian Home Builders Association-Central Interior. But new house construction took a hit, a one-two punch from the global economy and uncertainty around B.C.’s Harmonized Sales Tax, Brian Hayashi said Friday.

“New homes were significantly down. We think it’s a combination of things: the bad news of the global economy. A number of realtors and homebuilders have said sales stopped when the HST vote happened,” he said.

Of course, new home sales also turned sluggish when the HST was first created, but they did pick up after about six months, he said. “This time around, we don’t know.”

His group is working on a campaign for the new year to let buyers know it’s an ideal time to purchase a new house, Hayashi said. “Costs are going down. There is no advantage in waiting for the GST/PST to come off,” he said.

While new house sales are slow — with the exception of a flurry of selling in late November — there also isn’t a lot out on the Kamloops market, he said. “The other concern is when sales do pick up, there’s going to be a shortage. And whenever there’s a shortage, prices start to go up.”

Hayashi said his company, Nexbuild, has stayed busy with commercial work and home renovations. There are also energy-savings grants that homeowners should be aware of. “We’re looking forward to things picking up in new energy retrofits, some grants and incentives out there,” he said. “The renovation market continues to be strong. The energy retrofits, people staying put and upsizing or downsizing or even just maintaining. That’s a good opportunity for local builders.”

Despite the single-family home slowdown, Kamloops’ construction demand has been fairly stable going into 2012, he said. “So I’m hoping it’ll pick up. We’re not looking at a big boom or anything, the world is going to affect us, but I would say we’re doing really well. We’re really fortunate here.”

Brian Ledoux, president of the Kamloops and District Real Estate Association, agreed with Hayashi’s observations about multi-family housing doing better than new single-family homes. “New construction and residential sales were low, just based on the way the HST rules bounced around, nobody knew what to do,” he said. “Information didn’t get out well enough for the public to understand what was happening, so they decided not to do anything.”

But used houses sold well, in fact by year’s end, the total number of homes sold was close to matching last year’s, said Ledoux. The count taken a few weeks before 2011 ended was 1,980 homes sold, compared with around 2,100 or 2,200 at the end of 2010, he said.

He knew of only one house that sold that was priced over $1 million this year, but there were several in the $700,000 to $800,000 range. Interest rates attracted first-time home buyers, he said.

House prices in Kamloops have actually been declining since 2007, but are now leveling off, said Ledoux. He predicted the housing market in 2012 will see a slow and steady increase in sales.


B.C. Market Heads Toward Equilibrium

This article appeared on the Canadian Real Estate Magazine on December 14th, 2011.

The B.C. real estate market may finally have reached the equilibrium investors and others have long hoped for, with Multiple Listing sales in November falling only marginally from  the previous year and price growth restricting itself to a 1 per cent gain.

“After waning during the first half of the year, consumer demand has steadily increased since the summer months, bringing home sales within seven units of the November 2010 level,” said Cameron Muir, chief economist for the The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). “BC home sales continued to gain ground in November.”

A total of 5,640 units were sold last month compared to 5,647 units in November 2010. The average MLS residential price was up 1.1 per cent to $529,140 in November compared to the same month last year.

“Low mortgage interest rates remain a key driver in the housing market, helping to maintain affordability and purchasing power,” said Muir.

But affordability on B.C.’s Lower Mainland — or rather the lack of it — has worried local investors trying to make acquisitions in markets they have inreasingly found themselves shut out of this year.

That rapid value growth continues to moderate, with a falling number of buyers able or willing to purchase at prices in some cases more than 30 per cent higher than their 2010 numbers.

Year-to-date, the dollar volume for B.C. residential sales increased 15.5 per cent to $41 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales increased 3.2 per cent to 72,632 units, and the average residential price rose 11.9 per cent to $563,991 over the same period.


Sun Peaks Investment Part of Maturing of City Economy: Kamloops, The Daily News

This article appeared on the Kamloops Daily News on December 12th, 2011 and was written by Cam Fortems.

Sun Peaks Real Estate MLS ListingsSun Peaks celebrates its 50th anniversary this season. This is the second in a two-part series highlighting some of the history of the development of the ski resort.

There is no bigger or better example of the power of globalization on the economy of the Thompson region than Nippon Cable Co.’s investment at Tod Mountain.

The purchase by the privately held Japanese company of a historical ski hill in B.C.’s Interior — a hill that struggled financially through a succession of owners — ignited what would become $750 million worth of development a mere 45 minutes from downtown Kamloops.

That investment, starting with Nippon’s purchase of mountain tenure and development rights in 1992, 31 years after it opened, came at a key time for the region’s economy.

Seed capital to build lifts and create a master plan would encourage hoteliers and housing developers to put money into the resort, creating million-dollar homes, jobs and result in thousands of new tourists from Europe and Asia coming here each year.

Resort spending diversified Kamloops’ economy, helping shield the city from the shock of closure of Weyerhaeuser’s Kamloops sawmill, shut down of Teck’s original Afton project and the Convergys call centre, to name a few of the biggest that would fall in the intervening years.

While investment at New Afton and Highland Valley Copper dwarfs Nippon Cable’s investment, those companies are

“The biggest reason (for investment) was the potential,” said Sun Peaks Corp. vice-president and general manager Darcy Alexander.

“The Coquihalla was just built in ’87 and it opened up the Interior. The population in the Interior was growing. It had good economic prospects. The attraction of Tod was its ability to serve everyone, from beginners to experts.”

At its peak, the mountain sees about 1,300 people working on the hill, including part-timers, seasonal workers and volunteers.

The mountain is dominated by the corporation, which has a statutory seat on the resort municipality’s council. Its master plan sets out the future of development in a detailed way that municipalities typically lack.

The “corporation,” as its known on the hill, remains dominant. But Christopher Nicolson, president of Tourism Sun Peaks and one of the original key staffers on the mountain, noted there are now 83 businesses registered with the association. Most of those owners are resident.

Those businesses range from construction firms to hotels, cafes and property management companies.

“It’s diversified,” Nicolson said. “There’s been a shift in the past five or 10 years. You might have had a similar number of services with construction before, but they were based elsewhere.”

Among the original small businesses now part of the 18-year-old Sun Peaks is Bolacco Café, which set up in the Coast
Sundance Lodge in 1996.

“There was nothing here,” said Konrad Glowczynski, who co-owns the lodge along with his wife, Elizabeth.

Konrad, originally from Poland, lived in Italy and Vancouver before coming to what was largely an unknown mountain in the B.C. Interior. And like many who move to a ski resort, it was about lifestyle rather than money.

“It was a struggle in 1996,” he acknowledged.

Today, winters are busy in the peak season and August is also a good month. But Glowczynski said he and other restaurateurs would like to see more business during non-peak times, particularly during week days.

“I don’t downhill anymore,” said Glowczynski, who raised three children on the mountain. “I cross-country. I came here, not for the business, but the lifestyle.”

Alexander’s goal to increase and spread out traffic is the same, something he is confident will occur in time.

Today the resort has about 7,500 beds — a remarkable growth story considering it started from just a handful of residences on Tod Mountain.

Veteran Kamloops hotelier Tim Rodgers said the resort has undoubtedly been good for the city, but not for its hotel industry.

Before there was nightly accommodation on Tod Mountain, Kamloops hotels offered packages to out-of-town skiers. Skier visits at one hotel reached about 1,200 a year.

“Now I’m lucky if I get 10 a year,” said the Best Western Plus manager.

Sun Peaks also draws tourists who would otherwise stop in the city.

“They’re definitely a competitor,” Rodgers said. “In summer they have low rates and we lose buses. (But) for the city, it’s a huge economic gain.”

One of the biggest benefits citywide is service by WestJet from Calgary and Vancouver, something Rodgers said wouldn’t be here without the skiers that Sun Peaks attracts.

The resort is part way through phase 2 of its master plan, which anticipates 24,000 beds at build out. That will be accompanied by a second village site and more lifts on the mountain.

“For the first 15 to 18 years it rolled along just as we thought,” said Alexander, who managed the resort from Day 1, after starting with Nippon Cable at a Kelowna golf resort several years earlier.

“The recent downturn has really slowed things from a timing perspective.”

Despite that slowdown and shaken faith from the United States market in real estate investments, Alexander said the resort has grown to a place where it is sustainable.

As it is, Sun Peaks can brag on several fronts, including status of Delta Sun Peaks as the only four-diamond hotel in the area, creation of a resort municipality and presence of 11 lifts accessing 1,500 hectares of terrain.

“We have one of the bigger ski resorts in B.C. and Canada in terrain,” Alexander said. “Are we at a critical mass? Yes…. We don’t need to grow to be successful at this stage.”


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