Pent up energy continued to drive home sales last month in Kamloops, following a dip early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kamloops and District Real Estate Association has released last month’s statistics, which point to an increase in both single-family and multi-family homes sold over the same time last year. In July of 2020, new listings for single-family homes were up six per cent over July of 2019 and sales were up 18 per cent.
Similarly, new listings for multi-family homes were up 19 per cent and sales were up 11 per cent.
KADREA president Wendy Runge said demand is high, following months earlier this year at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that put the market on pause.
“People who were ready to buy in the spring were put on hold for a couple of months,” she said.
“Then, once the doors opened, everyone came rushing out.”
Runge said once provincial health officials began to loosen restrictions put in place to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus, real estate rebounded and the number of home sales and listings unsurprisingly rose.
She said a similar trend was seen in the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in British Columbia.
Another factor is extremely low interest rates.
Remax Real Estate agent Jared Thomson said sales have continued steadily for him, but other realtors took a step back for themselves and/or their families at the onset of the pandemic.
“The market itself is doing quite well,” he said.
“Year-over-year, June and July, we actually sold more units this year than we did last year, which is quite surprising.”
Meanwhile, year-to-date numbers continue to be behind last year, due to that earlier pause. Single-family home sales are down 18 per cent over last year, while multi-family sales are down 11 per cent.
Runge noted, however, that year-to-date numbers are improving. At one point, single-family homes were down 40 per cent.
“We really caught up,” she said.
Prices for single-family homes appear unfazed, rising steadily, compared to the same time last year. This time last year, the average single-family home had risen in price by about eight per cent. This July, that same home price rose by six per cent.
The average single-family home for Kamloops and surrounding areas is now valued at $531,000.
Multi-family homes are rising by even more, at 14 per cent in price over the same time last year, with the average multi-family unit is now priced at $363,000.
“The inventory is just not there,” Runge said, noting demand exceeds supply, which continues to increase housing prices.
Runge said to expect more of the same when it comes to housing prices, until supply and demand balance out. Going forward, she said Kamloops typically has a hot fall real estate market. This year, however, depends on a second wave.
“That has yet to be seen, but there seems to be the consumer confidence out there and they’re buying,” Runge said.
Buying/selling a house in an era of COVID-19
Runge said the real estate industry has adapted in the wake of the pandemic.
In the first couple of months, showings were limited to people who had to buy — perhaps in the middle of selling their house or with other factors requiring them to charge ahead.
As the market normalizes, safety protocols are in place. Runge said agents and brokerages are taking the lead from WorkSafe BC, when it comes to safety protocols.
“We’re making sure we’re wearing gloves, hands sanitized, all of those things,” she said.
“I’m really proud and I think that it helps consumers, as well, say ‘We’re taking this seriously so we can go and feel like it’s a safe thing to do, look at houses.’”