Owning waterfront property is the stuff of dreams, but that wide appeal has the predictable side effect of pushing prices beyond the reach of many buyers.
River frontage, compared with oceanfront and lakefront property, is a waterfront option that can offer a wider range of pricing, and Kamloops has more of it than any other B.C. municipality. Deerhurst on the River, a string of properties offered for sale off Tranquille Road in Brocklehurst, offers that attraction along with a few other distinctive features.
Originally an apple orchard with a single-family residence, the property was subdivided in 2009 into six 55-by-310-foot estate-size lots, each one more than a third of an acre.
One of the lots has sold while another has been partially developed with a 4,000-square-foot Craftsman-style home along with an 860-square-foot carriage house above a three-car garage, which is permitted by site-specific zoning.
Ed Barker and his colleague Rie (pronounced Lee-eh) Zhou of Re/Max Real Estate represent the listing, where lots have been marked down to $259,900 from $279,900.
“Interest has been not as strong as we’d like, partially because of the market,” Barker said. “It takes a long time to go through the process of subdividing. As part of that, it missed the market in terms of timing.
“Now it’s starting to perk up,” he added.
While that activity is consistent with the prime season for residential real estate, it also reflects the buoyancy of the sector overall. Figures for April show that Kamloops sales are up by 25 per cent, to 203 units in 2012 compared to 156 for the same month in 2011. Prices have also remained relatively stable at $352,000, nominally lower than last year’s average of $353,500.
Deerhurst, in particular, offers some appeal along with its waterfront. Zhou contacted The Daily News after reading a recent feature on laneway homes. These properties, by virtue of their shape and size, can easily accommodate a carriage house, lending another affordability factor with two dwellings on each lot.
“A lot of people want to downsize and still live in a situation where they have an address,” Barker said. “They’re also interested in helping out the kids. We’re having those kinds of talks right now.”
Imagine never again having to drive across town to visit family. They’re in the backyard — or the front yard, rather — overlooking a vista of the Thompson River. There is also a draw for people who might want to park an RV or install a swimming pool, and for those who want to maintain a city address while spending time at a second home. The property can have two civic addresses with separate metering for utilities.
The completed one-bedroom carriage home at 2465 Tranquille Rd. offers a compact but comfortable living space on the second floor. As Zhou observed, the smaller dwelling nearest the road provides added privacy for the main house.
“And the waterfront can be used exclusively by the owner,” she said.
Brocklehurst waterfront doesn’t appeal to everyone due to its proximity to the pulp mill, but that hasn’t deterred some rather high-end neighbours over the years, Barker noted. As well, Deerhurst is down river from the mill, affording a view of natural surroundings of Mission Flats beach rather than industry.
Best of all is that broad sweep of beautiful river, a temptation for boaters, anglers and even float-plane pilots. It’s deeper than the North Thompson, capable of accommodating wharf moorage and more affordable than South Thompson waterfront. Kamloops Lake is 10 minutes downstream.
And waterfront is a precious commodity that holds its value if not appreciating: “They don’t make any more of it, right?”
The carriage house and triple garage can be built at a cost of roughly $150,000 to $160,000. The existing main home, roughed-in at this stage, is a high-end product at a cost of $630,000. With two dwellings, though, affordability suddenly comes into view.