Inspired by this post at NZ Muse, as well as the recent decision by Kyle and myself to list our townhouse for sale, I’ve decided to take a closer look at what your money can buy you in Kamloops. While the housing market isn’t particularly booming, houses do move quickly if you have what people are looking for. There’s a wide range of options in every neighbourhood – more on those in a second – and you can find apartments, townhouses, detached homes and everything in between.
Kamloops is also a university town, and with that comes many rental units and suites. The proximity in which a house for sale is to these types of properties makes a slight difference in what its price tag may be.
Now, onto the neighbourhoods. There are 17 different neighbourhoods in Kamloops that I can count off the top of my head, and every single one has its pros and cons. Mine, for example, has the pro of being a family-friendly and safe neighbourhood, but a con is that winter generally comes earlier here than other areas. (We see snow around Halloween and while it doesn’t stick to the ground for long, it definitely makes the rest of town laugh.)
There’s also a big debate over which side of the river is “safer” than the other. There’s a huge stigma that North Kamloops is not as safe as South Kamloops, but it’s not necessarily true. Crime goes through waves in every part of the city and as long as you’re smart about locking up your homes and vehicles, you should be fine.
So, what can your hard-earned and smartly saved dollars buy you in my lovely city? Let’s take a gander:
$250K & under
There’s mainly apartments and townhouses in this range in every neighbourhood in Kamloops. At the pricier end of the spectrum is a newer 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom townhouse in the Brockelhurst neighbourhood, as well as a townhouse with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the Aberdeen neighbourhood. When you go to the lower price range, it’s mostly mobile homes with only two bedrooms and one bathroom. Scattered in this price range are also a few detached homes that would need some serious work to bring them up to date and liveable.
You start to see more “liveable” houses in this price range (move-in ready, no work necessarily needed). There’s also a few brand-new apartment units for sale, as well as new townhouse units in or around this price mark as well. You won’t find brand new detached homes at this price, but you’ll get pretty close to brand new. (Think early 2000’s). Starter homes are popular in this price point, and you can get a great family house with a decent-sized yard.
If you’re looking for a home for your growing family that boasts four or more bedrooms, houses that hover between the $450-500K mark is where you’re going to find that. Houses are all over the place when it comes to style and age as well. You can become the first owner of a brand new house on a street that doesn’t even have Google Street View yet, but you’ll have next to no yard. On the other hand, you can get into a house that’s around the 10 to 15-year old mark with a decent-sized yard big enough for your dog to get plenty of exercise.
Enter your executive homes. Unless you’re exactly that – an executive – or have won big with the lottery, the average person in Kamloops won’t be affording one of these beauties any time soon. Bedrooms average out at four and the square footage hovers around 3,500 to 5,000 sq. ft. Really, you can get it all: views, yards, gorgeous finishings, but you gotta be willing to pay the price.
Kamloops isn’t known for its million dollar homes, but there are a small handful hovering close to that price tag. Two of them (including the one pictured above) boast acres of land just outside of the city centre, while one other is a heritage home with its own tennis court, and the fourth is a newer built executive home overlooking the valley.
So, while Kamloops isn’t the most expensive place to buy a home in British Columbia (compared to, lets say, Vancouver), it’s not the cheapest either. The rental market is expensive and those looking for a whole house to rent for their families with 3 or more bedrooms can look to pay at least $1500 per month. Even more so if you’re looking to rent in a more desirable area. The general rule is the amount you pay for rent each month covers your landlord’s mortgage fees and allows them to make a small profit, usually no more than $200-$400 a month. Definitely not something to live off of, that’s for sure, especially when they have to pay property taxes and the like.
One trend that is happening a lot in Kamloops, especially in the newly built homes, is suiting the basements to have them “mortgage helper” friendly. This isn’t something that appeals to me at all, but in many cases, it’s the only way many families can afford to live in new construction homes. If they rent out their basements for $1,200/month, that takes care of 50% of their mortgage, depending on the final purchasing price. It’s a scary thought, really, to depend on your rental to be able to make your mortgage payment every month.
Comparing Kamloops’ real estate to Auckland’s is remarkable, as far as what your dollar can buy you. I’m grateful for where I live and don’t have to sell a kidney to be able to afford a three bedroom home.
What’s the average cost of a single-family home in your town? Do you find the real estate market impossible or easy to get into where you live?