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Housing indicators reflect a seller’s market in Terrace, Kitimat

Report from BC Northern Real Estate Board

Property sales in the Terrace and Kitimat area are on the rise and moving quickly, according to a report released by the BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) earlier this week.

Realtors in Terrace sold 173 properties in the first six months of 2018, a significant jump compared to 118 properties sold in the same period last year. The dollar value of these sales also increased by close to 58 per cent, from $31.4 million last year to $49.6 million this year.

In addition, 13 parcels of vacant land, 8 half duplexes, and 13 homes on acreage changed hands within the first six months of the year.

John Evans, BCNREB director for the Northern region, said the housing market in Terrace is moving towards a seller’s market, meaning more people are looking to buy than there are homes available. This year, the sales-to-active ratio for all units in Terrace is at 20.17 per cent, up from 13.63 per cent last year.

“General rule of thumb is if you’re less than 20 per cent you’re more in a buyer’s market, anything greater than 20 per cent is more of a seller’s market,” Evans explained.

More single-family homes were purchased in Terrace year-to-date, from 72 dwellings this time last year to 99 by the end of June 2018. Half of the single-family homes purchased in the Terrace sold for less than $314,000, according to the report, with the average selling price year-to-date rising just over three per cent, from $311,850 last year to $321,985 this year.

“People are quite happy to know that their home is a safe investment and gaining in value - that’s $10,000 a year,” Evans said. “That would be absolutely nothing in larger markets, however in a smaller market like ours, there’s nothing wrong with the value of your home increasing by $1,000 a month.”

On average, it took these 99 single family homes 47 days to sell, moving at a faster pace than in 2017.

While real estate sales and prices are climbing, the number of available properties saw a slight decrease. At the end of June, there were 228 properties available for purchase in the Terrace area, down from 242 properties available this time last year. The number of single-family dwellings available is also down, from 73 homes on the market last year to 62 homes by the end of June this year.

In comparison to neighbouring communities, Evans said the market in Prince Rupert is steadier, with less fluctuation in their statistics. And Kitimat, he said, is doing extremely well.

With 95 properties sold year-to-date, up from 29 sales last year, their dollar volume of sales quadrupled — from $6.7 million last year to almost $23 million this year. The sales activity ratio, meaning the percentage of product sold, was just 3.84 in June 2017. But this year, Evans said, its leapt to 24.56 per cent.

“So in the month of June, one-quarter of their inventory sold. That’s huge. That figure shows a true seller’s market.”

Last year in Kitimat, there were 104 properties in total available at the end of June. This year, there are 57. For single-family dwellings, there were 66 available this time last year, and only 24 this year. Kitimat also saw a six per cent rise in the average price of a home year-to-date, from $241,846 to $256,576.

The report estimates the sales activity in Terrace and Kitimat may be a result of possible LNG projects coming to the area. And while the average price of a home is on the rise, Evans said the northwest region is still “very affordable” when compared to the rest of the province.

“We’re still very fortunate to live in a community with the services that we have where you can go and buy a single-family dwelling with a house, a fence, a yard, a garage in that $300,000 range. There aren’t many communities in B.C. where that is still feasible,” he said.

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