How has COVID Impacted the Kamloops Real Estate Market?

A cute front door of a townhome.

If you’re wondering how COVID has impacted the Kamloops real estate market in 2020, you’re not alone!

It’s a fair question to ask, especially if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Kamloops. It’s no secret that many industries have been impacted by the pandemic this year, so how does the Kamloops real estate market stack up?

Overall, we’ve been very fortunate here in Kamloops. The real estate market rebounded quickly and has held strong for several months, which is great news! While some areas in Canada have been more severely affected, others have remained relatively stable, and Kamloops is one of the latter.

What this means for buyers and sellers is that it’s still a great time to list your Kamloops property or buy a new home. 

Let’s break this down a little further.

Initial Pandemic Impact on the Kamloops Real Estate Market

The Kamloops real estate market did hit a rough patch this spring, after the first restrictions were announced in March. 

Sales slowed in the second half of March 2020, bringing numbers close to those of the year prior. New and active listings fell compared to March 2019. 

A key lock box on a chainlink fence waiting for Kamloops Realtor Skyleigh McCallum.

In April 2020, the Kamloops real estate market still wasn’t looking too hot. Sales activity, dollar volume, new listings, and active listings all dropped compared to the year prior. Only the average price of homes on the market remained consistent. Year-to-date numbers for 2020 starting dropping compared to 2019. May was a slower than usual month, as well.

A Quick Rebound for the Kamloops Housing Market

Thankfully, the slow spell that resulted from the first wave of COVID was not long-lasting.

Things started to take a turn for the better in the summer months and, as restrictions lifted, the market started to recover. By July 2020, we were back to seeing growth compared to last year.

Since the summer months, this positive trend has continued. September 2020 even saw record-breaking numbers! 

An adorable yellow character home in the Kamloops real estate market with purple trim.

“Real estate sales numbers for last month have once again shown us that the impact of the pandemic on the market has been more positive than originally predicted. For the fourth month running, the number of units sold have been setting records that not many would have contemplated at the beginning of the pandemic. While sales usually dip in September and then pick up again during the fall months until winter, the trend we are seeing right now is unlike anything that we have seen before”, said KADREA President Wendy Runge in the September Media Release.

Although the CMHC predicted a historic recession for the housing market, this positive trend was seen elsewhere in the BC real estate market, as well.

Why was the housing market in Kamloops able to recover so quickly? A combination of reasons.

Real estate services were considered essential services.

Because real estate services were deemed essential, the industry was able to continue operating during all phases of the pandemic. While some businesses had to shut their doors completely, people still needed to move or make real estate transactions, and so REALTORS® were able to continue working.

Kamloops Realtors® adapted to the changing industry and safety practices. 

While Realtors® were able to continue working, they, of course, had to adapt to certain changes in the industry. Realtors® in the area worked hard to meet COVID safety precautions while still serving their clients. Often this was done by leveraging technology, such as offering virtual home tours and meetings. 

Kamloops Realtor Skyleigh McCallum working from home during the COVID pandemic.

The Kamloops real estate market is affordable compared to many other areas of BC.

Kamloops offers an affordable market and amazing value compared to other cities in BC. 

The average price of homes in Vancouver is over $1 million. The average price in Kelowna is over $750 thousand. The most comparable cities to Kamloops are nearby Vernon and up north in Prince George. 

Kamloops is a desirable place to live.

There are many reasons why people choose to live in Kamloops

With amazing Thompson-Okanagan weather, opportunities for year-round recreation in every direction, various Kamloops neighbourhoods to choose from, plenty of family-friendly activities, a growing city centre, a respected University, and a strong sense of community, Kamloops is on many people’s radar as a great place to live.

A family enjoying the views in downtown Kamloops, one of the reasons why Kamloops real estate is desirable even during COVID.

It’s also a city jam-packed with value, especially when comparing the affordability of the housing market to other cities on the West Coast. 

Kamloops has a solid economy and strong job market. 

Kamloops has a well-rounded economy and many job opportunities. As a flourishing city with a strong trades community, large University, and growing tech scene, it’s a solid choice as a place to live. 

Lower interest rates and increased inventory helps buyers in Kamloops.

With many buyers and a low inventory, the Kamloops real estate market has been a “sellers” market for about five years now. 

However, with a record-breaking number of permits being approved in the last few years, new developments are definitely on the rise. This increase in inventory, as well as lower interest rates from the Bank of Canada (and these low interest rates are expected to continue for some time now), is helpful for homebuyers. 

The Future of the Kamloops Real Estate Market

As we enter into the second wave of the pandemic, the long-term impact on the Kamloops housing market is still unclear, but there’s cause to continue being cautiously optimistic.

While 2020 is expected to end on a strong note, there are lingering factors that could continue to affect the market for months or years to come.

For example, with less people from overseas buying property in the Lower Mainland, this could lead to less people from the Lower Mainland moving to the BC Interior. 

A cute yellow home recently sold by Skyleigh McCallum Realtor in Kamloops, BC.

That being said, we may also notice a shift in buying habits. As living in large urban centres becomes less appealing for many, this may increase the number of people who wish to move to smaller cities or more rural areas, such as Kamloops. 

In the end, the appreciation on homes in Kamloops each year is impressive, and the market is strong. While the pandemic has caused uncertainty in many areas of our lives, it is not necessarily a reason to shy away from buying or selling your home in Kamloops. 

As a Kamloops Realtor®, I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have about real estate. If you’re looking for someone to assist you in your home buying or selling journey, let’s chat

Disclaimer: this advice is all a matter of opinion and each individual should speak with a professional before making important real estate decisions. Every case and situation is unique!

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