The Kamloops real estate market appears to be picking back up in time for fall after a slow summer for sales.
The Association of Interior Realtors recorded 165 residential sales in Kamloops and surrounding areas in August, down from 194 in July, and a decrease of 42.5 per cent compared to August 2021.
Chelsea Mann, vice president for the association, said there are a couple of reasons why the local market went through a slow season.
“Our summer was slow to start — like weather wise — that once it kicked in, people were just wanting to get out of town and just enjoy it. So that was one thing. Obviously when it becomes wildfire season, that always slows things down, people get really nervous, and their minds are elsewhere,” Mann said.
Mann said interest rates also have an impact on buying power, and noted that it also caused some “distrust” for the market.
“Some people had to jump right in before their rate changed, and then others were just thinking, ‘I'm just gonna kind of hold off,’ and it just seemed like all of those things happened at the same time.”
Mann said market activity seems to be increasing, which is typical for the fall.
"Just more activity on showings of your listings that sat really quiet there for a few weeks, it's picking up now," she said.
"So that's really good to see.”
Mann said prices for Kamloops homes “flatlined” over the summer, and the city has nearly hit August 2021 levels for pricing after seeing some slight decreases in the past few months.
Mann said Kamloops often holds steady while other markets see more drastic changes.
“[Prices] are about equal to last year at the same time. And then month over month, they've had minimal drops,” Mann said.
“Our Kamloops market is a bit different than overall B.C. If you were to look in Fraser Valley, for instance, they have a different story to tell. Their prices have dropped quite dramatically. But they were also dramatically higher than we were, as well.”
Data from the Association of Interior Realtors indicates there has been a 126 per cent increase in number of overall active listings in Kamloops when compared to August last year.
Mann said it appears the market is continuing to trend towards more balance.
“[There’s] a little less stress on the buyers, they have more homes to choose from. We’re in our fourth month consistently of adding 50 per cent more new listings than are actually selling. So it's a good opportunity for buyers to take a breath, actually find the home that they truly love, do their due diligence,” Mann said.
She said she’s seen more frequent home inspections, financing and subject-to-sale clauses.
“We’re actually getting to negotiate on homes, which we hadn't been able to do for so, so long. So now you're not always looking at an asking price as ‘How much more can I afford above that asking price?’ Because that's what it was for a while,” Mann said.
“I've had clients come to me and say, ‘Are we allowed to offer under the asking price? Is that something we can do?’ And it’s like, yes, now, that is something that is reasonable.”
Mann said it’s difficult to predict what’s next, but the Kamloops market is feeling like it may behave more along typical, seasonal trends — busy in the fall, slower in the December holiday season.
Mann said it’s difficult to predict how much of an impact interest rate hikes will have on the Kamloops market, especially as it’s unknown if the government will look to continue increasing rates.
“There's a combination of things that have led us to where we are right now, it's not just the interest rates. I think commonly, you see more of an effect six, nine months into the future of any kind of those government interventions, and interest rates and things like that,” Mann said.
“Looking forward, it’s really tough to know exactly how much of effect it's going to be.”