Great time to buy, not so much to sell

Burns Lake has come a long way since the explosion at the Babine Forest Products mill in 2012.

Burns Lake has come a long way since the explosion at the Babine Forest Products mill in 2012. At that time, uncertainty was dominant in the local real estate market and very few sales were taking place.

“The market went flat [in 2012],” said Doug Phair, managing broker/owner at RE/MAX Wrightway.

The real state market in Burns Lake has come a long way since then. With the village offering new facilities such as the Lakeside Multiplex, the construction of a new hospital, as well as the affordable house prices in the area, Burns Lake has become a better alternative to newcomers.

“There is a lot of outside interest in our area,” he said.

With a mid price range of $80,000 to $110,000, Burns Lake has become more appealing than its neighbouring towns, said Phair.

“What we have here is different than what we have in Smithers and Fraser Lake; a high-end house in Burns Lake that would cost $200,000, would be $300,000 in Smithers.”

Phair said all these factors have resulted in an increase in the volume of sales over the past year.

“This year was good,” he said. “There is an optimistic outlook.”

Although Phair does not see an increase in values right now, he said “there’s evidence that prices could and should” go up next year.

“It’s a great time for buying, but if you’re looking to sell, I would wait.”

The BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) reports 4195 properties worth $1.07 billion sold through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in the first nine months of 2014. At this time last year, 3806 properties worth $934 million had changed hands. As of Sept. 30 there were 4658 properties of all types available for sale through the MLS®, up slightly from 4617 properties at the end of September last year.

David Black, BCNREB’s vice president, said B.C. Northern’s third quarter real estate market has continued to be strong. Most markets are still showing increases in both the number of sales and the dollar value of each sale; however, recent statements made by major players in LNG projects have slowed the activity in the Northeast and Western regions of the Board.

According to the Northern Real Estate Board, looking ahead, economic uncertainty remains a major factor influencing the markets in and through the North and North Central areas. With a number of huge projects in the planning stages, the North could use some certainty. Government approval of at least one of these major projects would help solidify the strength of the markets across the North.”

In Burns Lake, so far this year 57 properties worth $6.6 million have been reported sold through MLS® compared to 52 properties worth $6 million in the first nine months of 2013. At the end of September there were 148 properties of all types available for sale through the MLS® in the Burns Lake area.

In Houston, to the end of September, 47 properties worth $7.2 million sold in the Houston area, compared with 39 properties worth $6.6 million in the same period last year. At the end of September there were 58 properties of all types available for purchase through MLS® in the Houston area.

In Smithers, as of Sep. 30, 211 properties worth $47.5 million changed hands in the Smithers area, compared with 196 properties worth $48.7 million in the first nine months of 2013. Half of the 83 single family homes sold so far this year, sold for less than $255,000 and these homes took, on average, 78 days to sell. Also changing hands this year were 34 parcels of vacant land, 46 homes on acreage, 12 manufactured homes in parks and 9 manufactured homes on land. As of September 30th, there were 270 properties of all types available through the MLS® in the Smithers area.

In Vanderhoof, REALTORS® assisted in the sale of 102 properties worth $18.4 million in the first nine months of the year compared with 69 properties worth $14.1 million in the same time last year. Half of the 43 single family homes sold so far this year, sold for less than $200,000 and these homes took, on average, 73 days to sell. Also changing hands were 23 parcels of vacant land and 17 homes on acreage. At the end of September there were 163 properties of all types available through MLS® in the Vanderhoof area.

In Fort St. James, 36 properties worth $6.7 million were reported sold to the end of September, compared to 21 properties worth $4.9 million in the same period last year. As of Sep. 30 there were 62 properties of all types available for purchase through MLS® in the Fort St. James area.

In the city of Prince George, to the end of September, 1157 properties worth $281.6 million changed hands, compared with 1020 properties worth $250.8 million to Sept. 30, 2013. In the western part of the city the median price of the 226 homes sold this year, was $242,900. In the area east of the By-pass, the 141 single family homes that sold had a median price of $203,000.

In the northern part of the city, the 173 single family homes sold had a median price of $280,000. In the southwest section of the city, the median price of the 200 single family homes sold was $334,500. At the end of September, there were 775 properties of all types available for purchase through MLS® in the city of Prince George.