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Despite the pandemic, real estate sales and prices in Kamloops spiked in 2020.
There were 2,945 residential sales in the region over the 12 months, with a total value of $1.3 billion, a 14% surge over the year before, according to statistics from the Kamloops and District Real Estate Association.
The average selling prices of a single-family home in Kamloops in December was $617,000, up a hefty 32% from the same month the year before.
For condominiums, townhouses, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes (referred to as multi-family units) the average selling price in December was $327,400, up 7.2% year over year.
"For sure, I'm surprised by the strong showing," said association president Wendy Runge, who is also a realtor with Century 21 Desert Hills Realty in Kamloops.
"When COVID first hit in late March and early April we braced ourselves for doom and gloom. Then the market picked up steam in the summer and didn't stop in the fall and winter."
The outlook for 2021 is bright, especially with a COVID vaccine being rolled out.
"Home is a lot more important to people in these times," said Runge.
"Combined with low interest rates, people are moving into the homes they want for the lifestyle and for working from home, if that's what they're doing."
Runge has also seen people moving from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto to Kamloops for the lifestyle and to get away from the big city.
Often, the transplants are working from home and can as easily do that from Kamloops as they can from the Lower Mainland, Alberta or Ontario.
Kamloops accounts for the vast majority of the district's sales activity.
The other communities in the association are Merritt (including Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Clinton and Lillooet), Barrier (including Clearwater, McLure and Vinsula), Chase (including North and South Shuswap, Monte Lake, Westwold and Prichard) and Logan Lake and area.
For the Merritt area, residential sales in 2020 totalled 303, up from 293 in 2019, and the average selling price of a home (including both single-family and multi-family) ended the year at $360,500 up 17% from the $308,000 a year earlier.
For the Barriere area, 150 sales, up from 118, with a year-end average price of $328,000, up from $284,000.
For the Chase area, 113 sales, up from 110, and $472,000, up from $448,000.
For the Logan Lake area, 82 sales, up from 73, and $250,000, a 6% slip from $266,000.