Real estate market back on track

Terrace’s real estate market is surpassing last year’s dismal numbers and inching towards numbers similar to better years like 2007 and 2008.

Terrace’s real estate market is surpassing last year’s dismal numbers and inching towards numbers similar to better years like 2007 and 2008.

The BC Northern Real Estate Board found that more homes were sold by the end of June this year compared to last, and the average selling price of a residential detached house rose as well.

This year, 79 homes were sold by the end of June at an average price of $208,044, with half of these single family homes selling for less than $190,500.

This is much better than the 57 sold in the same timeframe of 2010 at an average price of $202,342.

This year’s numbers are similar to the numbers in the first half of 2009; that’s when there were 77 detached homes sold at an average price of $207,525. One of the banner years, 2008, had 100 homes sold in the same timeframe, with the average price coming out at $213,845.

RE/MAX’s John Evans was surprised by this year’s numbers, saying he expected the market to do a little better.

“There are so many things that are happening or potentially could happen,” he said, noting projects like Rio Tinto Alcan’s planned expansion and work related to the Northwest Transmission Line.

“All those type of things brings more people to the community, it brings more dollars into the community and then it has in turn a positive effect on the real estate market,” he said. “And I was expecting that that would happen in the spring, but it might not happen until next spring.”

Evans said looking at the numbers, there’s been a 28 per cent increase from last year in activity.

“We’re seeing prices go up, we’re seeing the market tighten up a little bit in that our inventory is shrinking and demand is increasing, because we’re selling more than we did last year,” he said.

But he did note that 2010 was a bad year for the market.

“Now, I think we’re right on par. We’re where we should be,” he said, saying sellers are seeing multiple offers and getting offers closer to asking price.

“We’re still balanced in favour of buyers,” Evans said of it being a buyer’s or seller’s market.

“Even though our inventory is down from what it was, there’s still a good selection for them (buyers).”

Royal Lepage’s Erika Langer agreed that it’s still a buyer’s market, but noted there’s a lot more enthusiasm and optimism and interest from outside the area, which is a good indicator.

She was also not surprised by Real Estate Board’s numbers, but said sometimes the numbers are not always really indicative of what’s really going on.

“It’s definitely much better than it has been,” Langer said.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in buyers and sellers and multiple offers on properties, and properties selling much quicker than they have been.”

But she said that the properties still have to be priced at a proper value.

“It’s still not a boom, but it’s definitely a lot more optimistic than it has been over the last five to eight years,” she said.

“In 2007, I would say we had the boom – very active,” she said. “We haven’t got back to that yet.”

Realtors in the Terrace area sold 135 properties worth $25 million in the first six months of 2011, compared to 94 properties worth $18.3 million in the same period last year.

On average, it took these homes 70 days to sell and there were 270 properties for sale at the end of June.

Kitimat also did better this year, with 85 properties worth $12 million sold in the first six months of 2011 compared to the 45 properties worth $6.7 million at this time last year.

Prince Rupert saw a dip in the market, with 56 properties worth $10.35 million sold so far this year, compared to 71 properties worth $13.2 million in the first half of 2010.