It’s the downside of the Okanagan’s red hot housing market.
After a fire destroyed their home, a family with deep ties to Lake Country is now struggling to find a long-term place to buy or rent in that community.
Despite a budget of more than $400,000, they’re not sure where they are going to live at the end of the month.
Jennifer and Nate Samms and their two children were forced into the housing market when the mobile home they had lived in for 13 years was destroyed in an accidental fire in November.
“We’ve contacted hundreds of rentals. Many of them are either gone before we even get a chance to talk to the people, a lot of them don’t want kids … or the price is just more than we can afford,” Jennifer Samms said.
Nate said the couple made an offer on a townhouse and were outbid by nearly $50,000.
Since the fire, they’ve found various short-term places to live, but have to be out of their current rental by the end of the month.
The family of four is finding it next to impossible to secure a new place in Lake Country to buy in their price range of $400,000 to $450,000 or to rent.
“We know that we would never be homeless per se. We’ve got amazing friends and family, but a lot of that does require us relocating and we are just really trying to avoid that,” Jennifer Samms said.
Although the mobile home they lost in the fire was just outside the Lake Country border, the family has strong ties to Lake Country: Jennifer is the assistant manager of a local hardware store and the kids play sports and go to school in Lake Country.
“It is hard. I don’t want to take the kids away from their school and everything around them. It’s been hard enough for them,” Nate Samms said.
“They literally lost everything that they had. I can’t imagine having to pull them away from everything else,” Jennifer Samms added.
The Samms family are not the only buyers finding the real estate market in Lake Country ultra-competitive.
Real Estate agent Chris Docksteader has been working in Lake Country for 16 years and says he’s never seen this level of activity.
“What is on the market, if it is even decent, it’s getting multiple offers. There is so much interest and so much activity in the market it is putting a ton of pressure on buyers,” Docksteader said.
Searching on Sunday, Docksteader found only a handful of available listings in Lake Country that are around the family’s price range.
“We are at a point where we’ve got 807 square feet for $335,000 and 1,000 square feet for $400,000,” Docksteader said, describing some of the listings currently on offer.
The red hot real estate market is leaving the Samms family with few options to stay in their community.
“We are not looking for a handout, we are not looking for anything free, we want to pay. So if you know anybody, reach out to us,” Nate Samms said.