Real estate market slowly improving

Sales in the Terrace real estate market once again took an overall downward turn last year, this time by $2 million.

Sales in the Terrace real estate market once again took an overall downward turn last year, this time by $2 million.

The BC Northern Real Estate Board reported 224 property sales worth $42.5 million for 2010, compared to the 258 properties worth $44.6 million sold in 2009. These numbers are also down from the 287 property sales worth $53.63 million in 2008.

“All in all, 2010 was a less than spectacular year, no question,” says RE/MAX’s John Evans, but he said that the last quarter of the year showed signs of good improvement.

There were 126 single family homes that went through the real estate market last year, and half sold for less than $198,000.

However, the average selling price for a single family residential home rose in 2010; it was $202,389 last year, which is higher than 2009’s average selling price of $194,189 but lower than 2008’s average selling price of $207,459.

“With the limited amount of sales that we had last year, that’s going to skew your results a little bit,” Evans pointed out, but said that the average price appears to be increasing, which is a sign of a stable market.

And while it is still very much a buyer’s market today, he said he’s seeing a shift in the marketplace.

“We have a shortage of listings right now,” he said. “We’re less than a hundred active listings, which is another telltale sign that we’re in a changing marketplace.”

There were 190 Terrace properties available through MLS at the end of 2010, similar to the 192 properties available at the end of December 2009. But this number includes vacant lots, trailers and commercial properties, Evans said.

“Within town and the rural area, there are only really 72 single family homes available right now,” he said looking at the number of listings in early January. “And we’ve been reaching points close to 200 in the past number of years.”

He’s expecting things to pick up this year though, saying there is a lot of optimism with potential projects expected to come in the next few years.

Prince Rupert and Kitimat’s overall numbers did not rise, but the losses were not as large as Terrace’s; there were 117 properties worth $18.9 million bought and sold in Prince Rupert in 2010, only slightly lower than the 115 properties worth $19.4 million in 2009. Like Terrace, the average selling price for residential homes also rose, from $177,497 in 2009 to $179,090 in 2010.

In Kitimat, 102 properties worth $13.8 million were bought and sold in 2010, compared to the 90 properties worth $14.2 million in 2009. But the average selling price for residential homes there fell, from $170,626 in 2009 to $143,031 in 2010.

Smithers saw an overall increase in sales last year; there were 233 sales worth $46.3 million in 2010 compared to the 225 sales worth $43.5 million in 2009. However, the average selling price for single family residential homes stayed relatively the same at $220,992 in 2009 and $220,418 in 2010.

Throughout the province, there were 4,300 property sales worth $867.3 million in 2010, up from the 4,129 sales worth $848.3 million in 2009.