January 2012

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This article was written by Jeremy Deutsch of Kamloops This Week on January 9th, 2012.

Despite fears of a double-dip recession and lingering issues with the harmonized sales tax, 2011 turned out to be a pretty good year for construction in the Tournament Capital.

The city handed out $162.5-million in building permits in 2011, which ended up to $40 million more than projected.

David Trawin, the city’s director of development and engineering services, said the year was saved by a strong showing in commercial and industrial development.

The city issued $57-million in commercial/industrial permits in 2011, including another $2.8 million in December, besting the previous year by $7 million.

Conversely, residential construction dropped significantly in 2011.

The city handed out $96-million in permits last year, down from $129 million in 2010.

As for 2012, Trawin is offering a conservative estimate — predicting the city will hit between $130 million and $150 million in permit value.

“I’m considering next year to be an average year for Kamloops,” he said.

However, there are some big projects expected to land on the department’s desk, including permits for a Telus data centre, an Interior Health Authority development in North Kamloops and a new Marriott hotel in Aberdeen, at the site of the former Home Hardware store at Pacific Way and Rogers Way.

Trawin also expects the commercial side of construction to remain strong in 2012.

“Those are the types of building permits that bring jobs into the community,” he said, adding the residential portion will eventually follow and rebound.

Though all the numbers might not mean much to the average Kamloopsian, Trawin noted the engineering department uses the statistics to budget and plan for the year ahead.

A full report on construction activity at city hall in 2011 is expected to be in front of council early this year.

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.

In a 12-month period between 2009 and 2010, the city handed out $222.5-million in permits for 883 dwelling units.

That proved to be a record.

This article was written by Jeremy Deutsch of Kamloops This Week on January 9th, 2012.

Kamloops Real Estate House Fire SafetyFor some, a mobile home is an affordable alternative to buying a house or an apartment.

But, when a fire breaks out, they can be particularly deadly — especially older mobile units.

“They are a concern to us,” Kamloops Fire Rescue Chief Neill Moroz told KTW.

He said the problems tend to arise in older units that have a wood-panelling finish on the interior, because a fire can spread faster than in new models built with drywall.

Mobile homes in general also tend to be smaller and more confined, which can make it harder to escape, while putting occupants closer to flammable material.

Older units have become such a concern in recent weeks that the B.C. Coroners Service and Office of the Fire Commission have taken the unusual step of issuing safety warnings to owners and operators of mobile-home parks in the province.

The two provincial organizations noted studies that show fires in mobile homes tend to be more devastating than in other forms of housing.

The warnings come after seven people were killed in a five-day span in five separate fires around B.C. at the end of 2011.

One of the fires in Sicamous took the life of a father and his two young children.

Mobile-home fires can also be a challenge for firefighters due to  the speed in which the units burn.

“When a fire reaches a certain point, it’s extremely dangerous for our firefighters to enter,” Moroz said.

There are steps mobile-home owners can take to reduce the fire risk.

Moroz said every unit should have working smoke detectors and occupants should have a way of getting out from every room.

The B.C. Coroners Service has also put together several recommendations, including:

• Have furnaces inspected at least once a year and clean the blower and filters often to prevent overheating.

• Keep the furnace area clear of clutter.

• Ensure electrical wiring and appliances are in good working order.

• Watch for signs of wiring trouble, including flickering lights for no apparent reason; warm, inoperable, strange-smelling or discoloured switch plates or outlets; sparking or electrical arcing; or a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker.

• Never run extension cords under rugs.

• Avoid the use of space heaters if at all possible. If it is essential to use one, use a CSA-approved model and ensure it is well away from drapes, bedding, clothing and other flammable materials.

• Consideration should be given to replacing wood-based combustible wall coverings with gypsum board products, which slow the progression of fire.

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963 13th Street Brocklehurst Kamloops Real EstateGreat Brock bungalow with 2 spacious bedrooms on the main floor and a large two bedroom inlaw suite downstairs. The main floor has a large kitchen, spacious mud room/laundry room and living room. Recent updates include HW tank (6 months), Roof (last 5 years), paint and flooring. There are two parking areas to accommodate all residents and RV parking as well. Fully fenced private yard. Steps from the elementary school, secondary school and transportation. Very close to McArthur Island recreation and shopping. Minimum 24 hours notice for all showings. Tenanted up and down, upstairs tenants pay $1050/month and basement $925/month including utilities.

Click here to view more pictures of this property.

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

Barriere River BC Real Estate MLS ListingsBarriere is located 45 minutes or 66 kilometers north of the city of Kamloops along the Yellowhead Highway #5.  Barriere officially became a municipality on December 4th, 2007 and has it’s own city centre that has everything you would need. The population of Barriere is approximately 3,000. The main industry in Barriere is forestry but tourism has increased allowing for another industry to emerge. The Thompson Valley Rodeo is one of the events in Barriere that draws quite a crowd. Barriere has a number of lakes in the area to enjoy many that feature white sand beaches.

Barriere properties in and around the city centre are serviced by the Barriere water system. Rural properties, acreages and recreational properties are served by community water systems or private wells. All properties at this point are on a septic system. There are phone, cable and internet services to most areas. There is not any natural gas at this point but there is hydro to the majority of properties.

The Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) manages the solid waste in the area and the District of Barriere offers curbside garbage pick up for some residents depending on location. Barriere does have a dump site on Barriere Lakes Road.

Properties & Real Estate

Barriere BC Acreage Real Estate MLS ListingsBarriere has a range of properties such as mobile homes in a park, a few townhouses and duplex homes, homes on smaller residential lots, small to large acreages and recreational lakefront properties.

Mobile home parks are mainly found near Barriere Town Road in the city centre. There are often a few of mobile homes on the market to choose from.

Barriere townhouse Kamloops BC Real EstateMost of the smaller residential lots are also found close to Barriere city centre. The newest development is found near the corner of Barriere Town Road (Northern access) and the Yellowhead Highway #5. This is where you will find the newest homes as well as serviced lots ready for new homes. Other roads such as Amnesty Road, McLean Road, Gibbs Road, Oriole Way, Deejay Road, Barkley Road, Mountain Road, Dunsmuir Road and Bartlett Road house residential properties that are under one acre in size.

Acreages of all sizes are found all over Barriere and continue towards Darfield and Little Fort which are areas north of the city centre. Barriere Property Acreage MLS Listing Home House Sale KamloopsThere are a  number of these properties found along the Yellowhead Highway but they can also be found on Barriere Lakes Road, Agate Bay Road and Dunn Lake Road to name a few. Alfalfa is the primary crop grown on farms and many properties house cattle and other livestock. Many acreages are located close to Barriere city centre allowing owners to have access to the essentials.

Recreational properties are found mostly on East Barriere Lake Kamloops Real EstateEast and North Barriere Lakes. East Barriere Lake houses more recreational property development than North Barriere. There are a variety of properties on both lakes from resort type strata developments to more private larger lake front lots. Both lakes have public boat launches and white sand beaches. Click the following links for more information about East Barriere Lake or North Barriere Lake. Access to these lakes is along Barriere Lakes Road.

Click here to view homes for sale in the Barriere area.

Shopping & Services

Barriere has it’s own shopping district with a mid sized grocery store , drug store, post office, Liquor store,  Hardware store, Building Supplies Centre, a couple restaurants/fast food, gas stations and other small business. The majority of businesses are found on Barriere Town Road and the Yellowhead Highway.

The closest hospitals to Barriere are either Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops or Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital in Clearwater. There are local health professionals in Barriere such as a Doctor, Massage Therapist and more.

Barriere has many other services such as automotive, computer, internet, financial, churches, etc. Barriere is only about 45 minutes to Kamloops so many residents regularly visit to do large shopping runs and run errands.

Schools

Barriere has an elementary and secondary school. Both schools are located on Barriere Town Road. Click here for more information about the schools in Barriere.

There is also continuing online training @KOOL (Kamloops Open Online Learning) which also offers courses for students kindergarten through to grade 12.

The nearest post secondary school is Thompsons River University in Kamloops. TRU has a regional centre in Barriere but it’s main campus is in Kamloops. TRU also offer Open Learning where students can take courses by correspondence.

Recreation

East Barriere Lake Winter PropertyThere are numerous outdoors activities that can be enjoyed in Barriere. This regions is known as an outdoors paradise year round. Residents and visitors in the winter enjoy world class snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, skating (on frozen lakes) and any other winter activities you can think of. Sun Peaks ski resort, a year round resort is a 45 minute drive from Barriere adding East Barriere Lake view of Shuswap Highlandsmore recreational activities to the already long list.

Other recreational activities in Barriere are curling, golf at Chinook Cove Golf Course, ball parks, horseshoe pits, tennis courts, hiking and riding trails, swimming, fishing, boating, camping and much  more.

The lakes in Barriere are considered some of the best in BC. East and North Barriere Lakes are great for power boating activities as they are not very busy and are known for warmer waters making swimming more enjoyable. Click on the following links to read more about East Barriere Lake or North Barriere Lake.

Click here to view homes for sale in the Barriere area.

The areas Vinsula and McLure are located 25 minutes or approximately 48 kilometers north of the city of Kamloops. Vinsula is located minutes after the Sun Peaks Resort exit in Heffley Creek (33 Kilometers from Kamloops). The area of McLure follows Vinsula and is about 48 kilometers north of Kamloops or 23 kilometers south of Barriere.

These areas mainly consist of small acreages, farms, ranches and some smaller residential parcels. McLure and Vinsula are bordered by the North arm of the Thompson River. McLure is the home of Kamloops’ only river ferry. This small ferry transports vehicles between McLure and the northern area of Westsyde. Access to the ferry is off of McLure Ferry Road that intersects with the Yellowhead Highway #5. The ferry has a load capacity of two vehicles or 12 passengers.

Properties & Real Estate

Properties in the areas of McLure and Vinsula mainly consist of small to large acreages. These areas are split by the Yellowhead Highway #5 and are easily accessible from the Highway. Most properties sit near to the North Thompson River in the valley between the river to the west and hills to the east. There are some properties located along dirt roads in McLure and Vinsula such as Vinsula Knouff Lake Road. There are some smaller properties that are one acre in size or smaller and they are on mainly Pinegrove Road in McLure. Smaller acreages are found on Walterdale Road, Glengrove Road, McLure Ferry Road and Kealty Road to name a few. The remainder of the properties in the area are quarter sections or larger that house livestock or grow hay.

There are not any multi-family properties, mobile home parks or smaller residential lots in these areas.

Click here to view homes for sale in the McLure and Vinsula area.

Shopping

Main shopping is in the city of Kamloops and is within a 25 to 30 minute drive. There is a restaurant in McLure, a small gas station and convenience store in Heffley (5 to 10 minutes from McLure/Vinsula), a small seasonal corner store at the Pinegrove Camp Ground (open Spring/Summer) and a gas station/convenience store in Rayleigh (10 to 15 minutes). There is also a fruit stand that is located on the corner of McLure Ferry Road and the Yellowhead Highway #5.

Schools

Students who live in the McLure and Vinsula area attend the Heffley Creek Elementary school or one of many high schools in Kamloops. There is school bus service from McLure and Vinsula and not all children attend school in Heffley as some parents choose to send them to other schools in the area such as Rayleigh Elementary. To view further information about schools click here.

Recreation

There are many outdoors activities to enjoy in this region. Hiking, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, motor sports such as dirt biking, ATVing or snowmobiling, trail riding, fishing and more. This area is very close to many fishing lakes such as Knouff Lake, Heffley Lake and Sullivan Lake. Big Heffley Lake is also within 20 minutes where watersports are enjoyed in the warmer months and ice fishing, snowmobiling and cross country skiing in the winter months.

McLure and Vinsula are within 30 minutes of Sun Peaks resort which is an all seasons resort with downhill skiing/snowboarding in the winter and mountain biking in the summer. Many lakes are also very close for swimming, fishing and boating.

Click here to view homes for sale in the McLure and Vinsula area.

Neighbourhood: Deloro & South Thompson Valley, Kamloops, B.C. Real Estate.The area of Deloro is located 20 to 25 minutes east of the city of Kamloops or approximately 23 kilometers. Deloro and the South Thompson Valley consists of a few different areas with various housing options from a popular mobile home park to large acreages and ranches. This area does not have any shopping or schools but they are not very far by car. A portion of Deloro and South Thompson Valley is accessible by the Lafarge Bridge which is just past the Wildlife Park in Campbell Creek. The other area of Deloro is on the south side of the Thompson River off of Highway #1. Click here to see Google Map area of Deloro.

Properties & Real Estate

There are three main types of housing in Deloro and South Thompson Valley, the modular home park called Country View Estates, the bare land strata at Rivershore Golf Links and large acreages, farms and ranches.

Country View Estates is located at the top of Adcock Road which intersects with Shuswap Road. This park consists of a lot of double wide units as the lots that they sit on are larger than most mobile home park lots which are either on a monthly pad rent or the owners purchased the land and are paying a bare land strata fee. Some units have a longer lease with the park that reduces their pad rent. The park has a small playground for children and houses quite a number of units. This park has beautiful mountain and river views from many of the homes. One side of the park backs on to green space while the other backs on to river views and farmland.

Rivershore Golf Links is located off of Shuswap Road immediately after the South Thompson Inn, Guest Ranch and Conference Centre. Streets in this development include Navatanee Drive, Neuva Wynd, Pevero Place and Kananaskis Road.  Since this is a bare land strata development the residents of this area pay a small strata fee which covers water, sewer and garbage charges for the development. All the homes in this area are executive style, detached, larger homes. Many homes overlook the golf course and have mountain views. This is not only a mature area for adults, it also has a number of younger families with children, which can be surprising on first glance.

Deloro also consists of small to large acreages, farms and ranches. Some smaller acreages are located along the South Thompson River and across from the river. The main access road for these types of properties is Shuswap Road. Some of the smaller properties are located after Rivershore Golf Course communit on streets such as Jardine Road, Teel Road, Keel Place, Pintal Road, Malard Road, Sheer Road and River Vista Drive to name a few. There are a few properties located on the south shore of the South Thompson River across the river from the South Thompson Guest Ranch and Inn. These homes are predominantly small acreages and are located on Wittner Road, Demers Place and Duncan Road.

Click here to view properties for sale in Deloro and Rivershore Golf Links.

Shopping

There are not very many shopping centres close to this area but a short drive to Dallas Town Centre on Dallas Drive at Todd Road or Valleyview allows residents to shop for all they would need. Since Deloro is only a short drive to Kamloops residents are also able to access larger shops and stores. There are not any small shops in this area, there are however farms that offer eggs and other fresh products.

Schools

Students who attend elementary and secondary school go by school bus. The school bus travels down Shuswap road and makes a number of stops for all children who live rurally. To view more information about schools click here.

Recreation

Since the South Thompson Valley and Deloro is fairly rural there are a lot of rural type activities to participate in. Snowshoeing, fishing, boating (on the South Thompson or local lakes), hiking, motorized sports and of course golf at Rivershore Golf Links. Deloro is located along the shores of the South Thompson allowing locals to launch their boats near the Lafarge Bridge and travel east to Shuswap Lake where watersports are very popular.

Transportation

There are few transportation options in this area. Click here to review the BC Transit information.

Click here to view properties for sale in Deloro and Rivershore Golf Links.

The Kamloops and District Real Estate Association has released the statistics for December 2011, the Fourth Quarter summary and the final numbers for 2011. Click image to enlarge.

Comparative analysis by property type December 2011 Kamloops

Kamloops Real Estate Comparative Analysis by Property Type December 2011

MLS Activity December 2011 Kamloops Real Estate Statistics

Kamloops Real Estate MLS Activity December 2011

Sales by subarea 2011 Kamloops Real Estate Statistics

Kamloops Real Estate Sales By Subarea for 2011

Sales by subarea December 2011 Kamloops Real Estate Statistics

Kamloops Real Estate Sales By Subarea December 2011

Sales by subarea Fourth Quarter Kamloops Real Estate Statistics

Kamloops Real Estate Sales by Subarea Fourth Quarter

908 Crestline Street Brocklehurst Kamloops Real EstateImmaculate home in great location. This one owner home has 3 bedrooms & 3 baths w/potential for a 4th bdrm (large bdrm on 2nd level can be split). Numerous updates incl flooring, paint, heat pump (central a/c), hot water tank, furnace, roof 10 years old, baths & more. Open great room floor plan on the main floor, kitchen has an island & lots of storage. French door off of the bright living room that leads to a private sundeck/patio overlooking the yard. The laundry is a short distance from the main living space & boasts lots of storage & conveniently located beside the back entrance. Large rec room in the basement w/gas fireplace & lots of storage. Tons of parking, w/room for an RV. This home can also accommodate an inlaw suite. Private landscaped yard w/mature trees for privacy. This is a half duplex home but only shares a very small portion of the wall & entrance is on another road. Feels like a single family home at a great price, you won’t even know you are attached at all.

Click here to view more pictures of this property.

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

This article was written by Cam Fortems of the Kamloops Daily News on January 3rd, 2012.

C21 Sold Sign Kamloops Real Estate Kirsten MasonThe average property assessment in Kamloops declined slightly in 2011, the first time values have gone down in a decade.

Homeowners began receiving notices Tuesday from B.C. Assessment Authority.

Graham Held, deputy assessor for B.C. Assessment Authority, said the numbers show a market that’s largely unchanged from a year ago. The market value of all single- and multi-family homes in Kamloops declined by 1.46 per cent, measured between July 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011.

The City of Kamloops will use that number to adjust its mill rate down. Property owners who see values decline more than 1.46 per cent will see a corresponding savings on their tax bill in June while those on the plus side will pay more. City council has also yet to set its general tax increase.

In the big picture, Heid said the market has been largely unchanged for several years.

“What we’re looking at for the City of Kamloops is it’s at about the same level, plus or minus five per cent,” he said.

The assessment authority values homes at July 1 the preceding year. But Held said little market shift occurred in the past six months.

“It still looks pretty flat.”

Brian Ledoux, president of Kamloops District Real Estate Association, said the flat and slightly declining prices come as no surprise. They are in the wake of increases in the mid-2000s in property values of up to 20 per cent a year, in back-to-back years.

Ledoux said he expects little change in the current trend. Last year the assessment authority calculated that property values climbed about three per cent on average.

“We’re looking at slight, slow and steady increase of one to three per cent in 2012,” he said, noting interest rates remain near historic lows and show few signs of moving up.

MLS sales in December in the City were up by seven per cent over the same month last year, something Ledoux said is a positive sign for the new year.

Reflecting the assessment values, the association calculated the median price for a single-family home here declined a little more than one per cent, to $327,000 at the end of the year.

One recent positive sign is a decline of 460 listings, bringing the number of homes for sale on the MLS to about 2,400. That inventory remains high by historical standards, however.

“It’s good it’s (inventory) coming down. but it’s got some more room to come down,” Ledoux said.

B.C. Assessment Authority tracks the market value of property as well as growth through building and subdivision.

The latest roll growth of about $25 million is the smallest in the past five years. Roll growth between 2008 and 2009 was $1 billion, both from market increases and new development.

Property owners concerned about their valuations must submit a notice of appeal by Jan. 31 in order to qualify for a hearing in front of the Property Assessment Review Panel. Hearings are set between Feb. 1 and March 15.

Price mixed in city neighbourhoods

B.C. Assessment Authority calculated values for typical houses in several Kamloops neighbourhoods, showing a mix of increases and declines:

  • Sahali and Aberdeen declined to an average of $404,000, down about $6,000 from the year before.
  • East Kamloops (Valleyview, Juniper, Barnhartvale and Dallas) up to $392,000, an increase of $4,000.
  • Batchelor Heights increased by $7,000 to $374,000.
  • North Shore (Brocklehurst and North Kamloops) decreased $3,000, to $303,000.

Property values in neighbouring municipalities were also typically down or flat. The largest decrease was felt at Sun Peaks, where values stayed the same or decreased by as much as 15 per cent.

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This article appeared on CBC News on January 3rd, 2012.

The B.C. government has raised the threshold for homeowner property grant to $1.285 million to accommodate rising property values.

The news comes as hundreds of thousands of annual property assessments are being prepared for B.C. property owners by the government. Last year, the threshold was $1.15 million. The grant effectively reduces the property tax paid by most B.C. homeowners by up to $1,045

Every year the province adjusts the grant to ensure 95.5 per cent of homeowners receive the full amount of the grant. Those with homes above the threshold may still be eligible for part of the grant.

“The homeowner grant provides a maximum reduction in residential property taxes on principal residences of $570 in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts and $770 elsewhere in the province,” said a statement issued by the government on Tuesday.

“An additional grant of $275 is available to those who are age 65 or over, permanently disabled or a veteran of certain wars,.”

“We continue to see challenging economic times around the world. By maintaining the homeowner grant, we continue to help families with the costs of owning their homes,” said Finance Minister Kevin Falcon in the statement.

The grant is only available to Canadian citizens and to landed immigrants who normally reside in B.C.

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This article appeared in the Globe and Mail on December 30th, 2011 and was written by Katherine Scarrow.

As global housing markets coughed and sputtered in 2011, Canada’s barrelled ahead, even turning a few nervous heads along the way.

In fact, recently the Economist branded Canada one of the nine countries where “home prices are overvalued by about 25 per cent or more,” and among the four where prices are in line with those in the United States “at the peak of its bubble.”

Is there really a cause for alarm? Are we doomed to ride this white-knuckled roller coaster in 2012? Probably not, according to Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist of CIBC.

“The housing market of tomorrow will not be as exciting as the housing market of yesterday,” he said in an interview.

While the current real estate market is overshooting, with home prices far higher than than they should be, we shouldn’t expect a crash either, he explains. As long as interest rates remain relatively low and subprime mortgages kept at bay, the most likely scenario is that the market will plateau.

“Prices are already softening, housing starts aren’t in the sky, MLS [multiple listing service] activity is starting to soften, so it suggests the market is already starting to level off, and that’s what we need,” he said.

How will a more relaxed real estate market affect new home buyers, investors and renovators in 2012? Here are Mr. Tal’s predictions:

1. First-time home buyers

  • Affordability and interest rates will be the major concerns in 2012. Prices will continue to be expensive, especially in urban centres like Vancouver and Toronto, since interest rates are likely to remain low for the time being.
  • But rates won’t stay low forever, which is why you should estimate mortgage payments based on interest rates that are 2 or 3 percentage points higher than current interest rates, and if you cannot afford that, get a smaller mortgage and buy a less expensive house.
  • Expect an end to bidding wars, or at least a temporary ceasefire. New home buyers will have the luxury of time in terms of looking at properties without being rushed into decisions. That’s the positive. The negative is that prices continue to be drastically higher than they were five or 10 years ago.

2. Investors and flippers

  • If you’re in it to flip it – meaning you buy a home hoping the price will rise by just doing minimal changes – those days are over.
  • In some pockets of the country, you may even see prices go down.

3. Renovators

  • The cost of renovations will not increase significantly so long as interest rates remain at their current level, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of this time to finance these projects.
  • For those looking to take on a second mortgage, remember to make sure you’re equipped to finance them if interest rates creep up.
  • Variable-rate mortgages are still a good option for those who are able to withstand fluctuations in the market and “ride the ups and downs without getting a stomach ache.”

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