High demand, low supply leads to new development


Photo SPIN
Photo SPIN

The first new townhouse development in over eight years will add selection to the ever-growing demand of prospective homebuyers in Sun Peaks.

A&T Ventures of Kamloops has acquired the site next to the Kookaburra Lodge to build a 26-unit townhouse complex, which will mark the first townhouse development since Bridge Gate, which began selling in 2007 but did not sell out until 2012.

We need building in Sun Peaks there’s no doubt

“What’s happened at Sun Peaks is there was a lot of inventory in both condominium and townhouse, and that inventory, particularly in the townhouses, dried up,” said developer Frank Quinn. “Because there’s no inventory and because there’s demand, primarily coming from our dollar being low, is driving the U.S. market to us and also Vancouver because people have so much equity in their homes, they’re beginning to look at Sun Peaks as a place to live.”

Quinn said this complex will feature townhouses approximately 2,000 square feet in size, similar to the McGillivray Creek townhomes. The complex will be built directly off Sun Peaks Road between the Kookaburra Lodge, the access road to the former rink site and the valley trail at the back.

“We’re fast tracking it,” said Quinn, who has been developing properties in Sun Peaks since 1994. “The development of any parcel usually takes a couple years before you get a shovel in the ground, but we are pretty confident we’re going to be able to get a shovel in the ground on this site maybe as early as this fall but more likely in the early spring as soon as the snow’s off the ground.”

The one thing we’ve been really good at is we’ve always had some sort of a major development going up, until 2008, pretty much going every year

Real estate sales are soaring in Sun Peaks in 2016. As of June 27, there were 80 total sales, which is double the total at that point last year and nearly matches the total amount of sales for the entirety of 2015.

“It’s amazing how quickly it’s turned around. Nobody wanted to buy anything for years and now everybody wants to buy,” said Liz Forster, managing broker of Sotheby’s International in Sun Peaks.

With growing demand and limited supply, the timing is perfect to end the longest gap of development seen in Sun Peaks since Nippon Cables purchased the resort in 1992.

“We need product. We need building in Sun Peaks there’s no doubt,” Forster said.

“The one thing we’ve been really good at is we’ve always had some sort of a major development going up, until 2008, pretty much going every year,” said Peter Nixon, real estate manager for Sun Peaks Resort LLP. “Depending on what the year was we always had something that was happening, but when 2008 came it really put a pinch on everybody for sure.”

Forster said the townhouses have been the hottest commodity on the market with properties selling at the asking price within a month of being listed, a far cry from the houses that recently sat on the market for up to four years.

One townhouse in Woodhaven recently sold the same day it was put on the market.

“That same unit was on the market for about four years without selling,” Forster said. “They decided to take it off the market for about a year and the day they put it back on it sold. That’s how dramatically things have changed.”

One emerging demographic in particular is responsible for the soaring the housing market. More people are taking advantage of the high housing prices in Vancouver and moving to more affordable locations, such as Sun Peaks.

Thirty-seven per cent of buyers in 2016 have been from the Lower Mainland, according to the MLS listings. Comparatively, 13 per cent are from Kamloops, eight per cent from the rest of B.C. and seven per cent from each Ontario and the United States.

“The school is attracting a lot of young people. They look at this as being a lifestyle change. With the prices the way they are in the city, they can sell and buy something here and get out from under a big mortgage,” she said.

Townhouses are driving the soaring real estate market, but are far from the only area seeing a drastic improvement.

Vacant lots and one-bedroom or studio suites that have been on the market for years have sold, and four homes in the $1 million range have sold within the past six months after no sales in the price range for over three years.

“There are no more old listings on a lot of these, they’ve all sold,” Forster said. “The hockey rink and health centre under construction, the new homes being built, all of a sudden it seems like everybody’s heard of Sun Peaks. It’s exciting.”