The proposed AJAX is a hot topic in Kamloops. Everyone in town knows about it and everyone moving to town does too. On one side there are high paying jobs and an influx of tax dollars that could go towards better infrastructure and social programs for the city and on the other side there are legitimate environmental concerns. The project is currently going through a BC environmental review process. I get asked a lot about what affect the proposed AJAX mine has had on the current real estate market. So I took a look at the sales of areas of Kamloops that would potentially be affected the most, areas closest to the proposed mine operation, Aberdeen and Pineview Valley. Looking at the sales figures for these areas over the last five years. You can see despite the increase in public awareness of the proposed mine there has been no noticeable decrease in sales for these areas. In terms of sale prices there is still a noticeable premium for houses in these areas. For example, the average new home construction price of an Aberdeen home is about $40-$60k more than comparable new homes in Bachelor Heights and Juniper heights. What is also interesting is the Kamloops market is hot right now. There are only limited number of lots available but there are no lots available in Aberdeen. They are sold out. Why aren’t sales and land values decreasing with all this talk about the proposed mine? There can be a number of different reasons, but when it comes buying homes we have all heard location is really important. I have had clients tell me they would love to live in the country, have more land and enjoy the fresh air out there. But most don’t want to live far from their work, favourite grocery store and other amenities.
There seems to be a trend where desirable aspects of an area such as proximity to work, amenities and quality of schools can outweigh potential challenges associated with industrial and commercial realities. At least they have in the past.
Kamloops has been referred to as a working town in the interior of BC. Because it is constantly compared with more tourism friendly cities like Vernon and Kelowna which have geographically advantages that Kamloops just doesn’t have.