You won’t see a lot of signs like this in Kimberley right now, as the inventory for home sales is very low.

You won’t see a lot of signs like this in Kimberley right now, as the inventory for home sales is very low.

Real estate inventory very low

The Kimberley real estate market is in an unusual spot right now. Inventory is low, lower than many realtors can ever recall.

“It has never been this low,” said Marilyn Jolie, a realtor with Royal LePage East Kootenay Realty in Kimberley. “I don’t really know why. People really want to move here. It’s an amazing place.”

Jolie says the reduction of the inventory began about five years ago when commercial properties started to move.

“Gradually the lower priced houses went, then the condos. Last year was my best year ever.”

This year, Jolie says there are only 32 single family homes on the market.

“After the downturn in 2008 and 2009, we had 270.”

There are 52 strata listings, but 19 of them are quarter shares.

“It’s so, so low,” Jolie said. “There’s nothing to sell. Every realtor in town has people looking to buy but there’s no inventory.”

Typically, Jolie says when there’s a lot of inventory prices come down a little and when there’s little, prices go up.

She says prices are not rising as much as you’d think given the lack of inventory.

Joanne Kitt of ReMax Caldwell Agencies says she can’t ever remember having this little available on the market.

“I wish I could give a reason for it, but I can’t,” she said. “It might be the new norm. Our listing numbers are somewhere around 30, that’s all the MLS listings. And quite a few have offers on them.”

Kitt says a good inventory number is between 80 and 100.

“That’s a nice, stable, normal market.”

One reason for the low inventory may be that seniors who may want to move to a lower maintenance residence may not have any options available. There are waiting lists to get into Garden View and similar facilities.

“So these people may be saying, we’re going to wait a little longer to sell our home,” Kitt says. “There’s nothing available like a Mark Creek Crossing right now, but there are supposed to be some building starts in the spring.”

A lot of the inventory has been bought up in the past few years by young families moving back home.

“That’s really cool to see,” Kitt said. “Things have changed in the oil industry and maybe they can work remotely or they do the commute.”

Kitt says prices are coming up in the under $300,000 market but not over that price. But there are few properties under that price line available and of those that are, many need a lot of renovations.

“People are buying and selling, but there’s no selection. We are not seeing a dramatic rise in lot sales, probably because building costs are so high.”

She also says that new mortgage rules and the potential for rising interest rates could be keeping people cautious about selling their current home and buying up.

However, Kitt is not panicking. She believes the market supply will rebound by spring.

“This is not a great time of year to sell. I wouldn’t list my house around Christmas. I think we’ll see an improvement in the new year, even as early as January or February.

“Some new construction will give some inventory for people who have been holding off selling.”

The plan is to ride out the winter and hope people list in the spring, she says.