Numbers are not always black and white, such 166 and $187,000. That’s the number of homes sold in Trail in 2017 and the average price of a single family dwelling based on those sales.
But there’s more to it than that.
“What skews Trail is that we are the area that does have smaller and really affordable homes that sell below $100,000, other communities don’t have those homes,” explains Mary Martin from Century 21 Kootenay Homes. “So $187,000 is really just an average and not reflective of a typical family home in Glenmerry or Sunningdale, where that number would be low. And in certain other locations, that’s going to a little bit high.”
Within the immediate area, Rossland’s residential real estate came in the highest. Based on 61 sales, the average home sold for $312,000 in 2017.
What drives that city’s market, of course, is location.
“Rossland doesn’t just attract people who need to live in the community,” says Martin. “It attracts people from outside the area … there’s big difference from a little war-time single family home in Rossland being sold to a local family and a condo or vacation home being sold to an investor,” she clarified.
“Trail does get some investment for rentals, but Rossland attracts people from a broader range, from all over the world.”
Martin says 166 sales in Trail is higher than previous years and the local market remains active, but housing stock is down.
And less stock can drive up the price of sale – it’s all about supply and demand.
“We are definitely down in listings from where we’ve historically been the last few years,” said Martin. “It’s hard for us to say if prices are going to go up, but I certainly see it (market) as being stable and I doubt they’ll will go down.”
The bottom line is that homes are still very affordable in Trail.
But there’s other compelling factors attracting buyers to the Silver City, says Martin.
“What we are seeing more and more, is people choosing to move here for the lifestyle, ” she explained. “I think all the projects that have been commenced, and some finished, in the City of Trail have really given people more confidence.
“Just seeing change happening has been exciting for people.”
She mentioned the broad range of Trail amenities, including the regional hospital, employment opportunities and the regional airport being a “big plus,” as well as the city’s proximity to larger centres.
“It all helps,” Martin concluded. “And in all of our (neighbourhoods), homes are still affordable compared to anywhere else.”
According to the Kootenay Real Estate Board (KREB), the average price of a single family detached dwelling, $187,381 to be exact, was lowest in Trail. Based on 36 sales, Fruitvale came in second lowest, but still considerably higher than Trail, at $278,000.
The average home in Castlegar, based on 139 sales, was $295,000. Nelson came in the highest at $428,000, based on 109 sales.
These figures do not include sales in rural or surrounding areas of the Central Kootenay or Kootenay Boundary regional districts.
“Although the Kootenay Real Estate Board (KREB) deems this information to be reliable, KREB cannot assume responsibility for the accuracy,” KREB stressed in its release.
Ron Allibone, KREB’s director from Trail, says the last time the market peaked was about a decade ago.
“The market in 2017 was a turning point,” he told the Trail Times.
“The last half of 2016 saw a major rally in sales and in spring of 2017, we woke up with very limited inventories and high demand from buyers.”
Prices did see a sharp rise last year and in some locals, like Rossland, this was even more evident.
“As it stands, Rossland has the highest prices for the same product followed by Castlegar and Fruitvale, and some areas in Trail.”
Allibone says the greatest challenge in 2018 will be “product to sell.”
An important barometer for real growth, however, will be new builds.
“At this point, Rossland will be king as many building lots were sold there last year followed by Castlegar,” Allibone noted. “Hopefully Greater Trail, Fruitvale, and other local areas will experience similar experiences. “
The two most popular lifestyles locally are living in the alpine or living in the countryside, like Fruitvale, he added.
“Both these areas are popular with young families alike, and Fruitvale has a serious shortage of modern homes and small acreages which are in high demand.”