Construction and Home Sales are Stable in Kamloops

This article came from the Kamloops Daily News and was written by Michelle Young on April 8th, 2011.

Steady. If there was one word that described both home construction and real estate sales in Kamloops, it’s steady.

City construction figures for March show permits were issued that month for 17 houses and 38 apartment style multi-family units, as well as two secondary suites and two single multi-family units.

That brings the year-to-date total to 84 housing units, matching the number from March of 2010. The difference is, last year’s housing included more single-family and less multi-family.

Kamloops and District Real Estate Association president Brian Ledoux said Friday the numbers reflect what he’s seeing and hearing about in the buying and selling market.

For sale signs are sprouting like tulips and daffodils (and this year, federal election signs) around town as homeowners come out of hibernation and turn their thoughts to upgrading or moving, he said.

Some of them are relisting after taking their houses off the market for the winter. “Right now, we’re tipping on more listings than sales, so it’s a slight buyer’s market,” he said.

Real estate agents are seeing the median price of house sales rise slightly, which indicates that more high-end homes are selling.

He recently had a client who moved here from Vancouver after selling in the hot market down there.

But there are still lots of first-time buyers shopping, too.

Ledoux said the economists that his association consults are predicting exactly what appears to be happening.

“It’ll be pretty steady for the next few years,” he said.

On the commercial construction side, the City’s permit numbers show there is still some lagging behind last year’s pace.

The first three months of this year saw $16.1 million spent on commercial and industrial projects, compared with $19.2 million in the same period in 2010.

Paul Fabri, market analyst with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., predicted detached housing construction will pick up later this year.

The best word to describe the forecast for 2011 in the Thompson Okanagan is “stable,” he said. “I expect a strong market in Kamloops.”

That strong market has led him to anticipate 550 housing units being built in town this year. So far, the City has issued permits for 84.

More severe winter conditions than usual have slowed construction in the region, he noted.

City building inspector Kundan Bubbar said at this point, multi family housing is up because of affordability.

A few large multi-family projects are expected to start later this year, including a commercial and 38-unit residential project by Mike Culos at Summit and McGill, and 38 apartments on Harrison Way in Aberdeen.