The Kamloops real estate market appears to be recovering in time for the fall after a slow summer for sales.
The Association of Interior Realtors recorded 165 home sales in Kamloops and the surrounding area in August, up from 194 in July and down 42.5 percent from August 2021.
Chelsea Mann, vice-president of the federation, said there are a number of reasons why the local market has endured a poor season.
“Our summer started slowly – as did the weather – so as soon as it started people just wanted to get out of the city and just enjoy it. So that was one thing. Of course, when it gets to wildfire season, that always slows things down, people get very nervous and their minds are elsewhere,” Mann said.
Mann said that interest rates also have an impact on purchasing power, noting that this also generated some “distrust” of the market.
“Some people had to jump right in before their rate changed, and then others just thought, ‘I’m just going to wait a bit,’ and it just seemed like all of these things were happening at the same time.”
Mann said market activity appears to be picking up, which is typical for the fall.
“Just more activity viewing your posts, which has been very quiet there for a couple of weeks, it’s picking up now,” she said.
“So that’s really good to see.”
Mann said Kamloops home prices “have been flat” over the summer and the city has almost reached August 2021 price levels after posting some slight declines in recent months.
Mann said Kamloops often remains stable while other markets see more drastic changes.
“[Prices] are about the same as last year. And then they had minimal declines month over month,” Mann said.
“Our market in Kamloops is a little different from the whole of BC. For example, if you look at Fraser Valley, they have a different story to tell. Their prices have come down quite dramatically. But they were also dramatically taller than us.”
Data from the Association of Interior Realtors shows that the number of total active listings in Kamloops increased 126 percent compared to August last year.
Mann said it appears the market is continuing to trend towards more balance.
“[There’s] a little less stress for buyers, they have more homes to choose from. We’re in our fourth month of consistently adding 50 percent more new listings than are actually sold. So it’s a good opportunity for buyers to catch their breath, actually find the home they really love and do their duty of care,” Mann said.
She said she saw home inspections, financing and sales clauses more frequently.
“We can actually negotiate houses, which we haven’t been able to do for so long. So now you don’t always look at a asking price as “How much more can I afford above that asking price?”. Because it was for a while,” Mann said.
“I’ve had clients come up to me and say, ‘May we bid below the asking price? Is that something we can do?’ And it’s like, yeah, now that’s something that’s reasonable.
Mann said it’s difficult to predict what’s next, but the Kamloops market feels like it’s behaving more along typical, seasonal trends — busy in the fall, slower in the December holiday season.
Mann said it’s difficult to predict how much the Kamloops market will be affected by rate hikes, especially since it’s unknown if the government will attempt to hike rates further.
“There’s a combination of things that got us where we are now, it’s not just interest rates. I think in general, six, nine months out, you’re more likely to see an effect of all sorts of these government interventions and interest rates and things like that,” Mann said.
“Looking ahead, it’s really difficult to know exactly how much of an impact it’s going to have.”