Early numbers for 2017 suggest that the real estate market in Northern British Columbia will see another busy year.
While William Lacy of the BC Northern Real Estate Board, says it’s too early to tell for sure because the winter months are generally slower, the north is starting to see activity coming back after a slow end to 2016.
In February and January, realtors sold 444 units through the MLS® System of the BC Northern Real Estate Board. That’s an increase of 7.5 per cent over sales from last year.
Of those, 254 homes were sold in February —up five per cent from last February and above five and 10-year averages. While January was slightly slower, below the yearly average, numbers were still up from 2016.
Still, Lacy says the real estate board won’t really know if the year will be strong or not until after the snow is gone.
Housing prices in the Lower Mainland are responsible for much of the growth in area according to Lacy.
“We know that’s going to continue and that’s what drove our market last year — the Vancouver wave coming up, looking for affordability and cashing out,” he says.
“We get not only the retirees coming up, but it’s the young families too, who honestly cannot afford [housing] down there,” says Lacy. “You’ve got 800,000 tear downs on postage stamp lots in the big city, when our average price up here is slightly over the 200,000 and some are on half acre lots, you can just give people a better lifestyle for a ridiculously low amount of money.”
100 Mile House is coming out of a hot year for house sales — activity increased in the area by 60 per cent in 2016.
In the 100 Mile area, 630 properties, worth a total of $140.3 million, sold in 2016, compared with 384 properties worth $88.3 million in 2015.
The housing boom, however, may move farther north as less housing becomes available in the South Cariboo says Lacy.
“You don’t go from zero to 60 without there being some supply issues,” he says.
Instead, he suggests, housing prices in 100 Mile House may go up and people will be forced farther north. Both Williams Lake and Quesnel saw growth in their housing market in 2016, however, neither enjoyed the same success as 100 Mile House.
“It’s becoming more and more of a sellers’ market,” says Lacy. While last year “there wasn’t a huge push in prices, it kind of did a shift from a buyers’ market into a sellers’ market, but this year will be the telltale year.”
What does this mean for people thinking of buying or selling their property?
“On the sell side, absolutely, it’s always a good time to get your house out there. On the buy side, you might want to try and beat everyone else to the punch. I think it’ll be the year that we see price appreciation occur.”