Optimism surrounding a potentially positive final investment decision for the development of an LNG industry in Kitimat is one of the factors driving a dramatic increase in the sale of homes since the beginning of the year.
Kitimat realtor Graham Pitzel said 38 homes were sold in the first-quarter 2018 (from January 1 to March 1) – 31 detached, six attached and one multifamily (four-plex) homes with an average sales price of $217,699 for a total sales volume of $8,272,580.
In the same period in 2017 Kitimat only posted a total of 17 sales (13 detached and four attached) for an average sales price of $221,016 and a total sales volume of $3,757,275.
“The average sales price isn’t all that indicative of much, but you can see the sales volume has increased dramatically due to a few factors. This year, we have a lot of new Rio Tinto hires and the LNG projects seem a lot closer to a reality than last year,” said Pitzel.
He said homeowners were holding onto the properties in the first quarter of 2017 because of uncertainty around Rio Tinto’s contract negotiations and the future of the LNG industry in Kitimat.
“This is great news for the community. With prices being where they are it gives everyone an opportunity to get into the market. Anyone from first-time buyers, to investors with multiple properties, are able to buy again and that is good for the town,” said Pitzel.
Both Terrace and Kitimat bucked the overall trend in the north, the BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) reporting an overall drop in sales – 914 sales with a value of nearly $238 million in the first quarter of 2018.
“This compares with 934 sales worth nearly $251 million to the end of March 2017,” said BCNREB president Court Smith.
“Many areas have been impacted by the prolonged winter weather. Most markets are seeing reduced sales activity and lower inventory over the same period last year,” said Smith.
He said Prince Rupert’s sales and listings dropped, likely linked to Petronas’ cancellation of their LNG project.