Statistics from the BC Northern Real Estate Board show that although the average price of a single-family home soared in Terrace from 2018 to 2019, sales were down. (File Photo)

Terrace house prices on steep climb in 2019

But total sales were down compared to previous year

The average price of a single-family home soared in Terrace from 2018 to 2019 but sales were down, indicate statistics from the BC Northern Real Estate Board.

And there’s a good reason for that, says Remax realtor Sheila Love.

“Remember that we had the final investment decision for LNG Canada in 2018 and that’s when sales soared in the last part of that year, taking up 50 per cent of the available inventory. In Kitimat, it was something like 90 per cent,” she said.

That ‘yes’ on the part of LNG Canada resulted in 205 sales in 2018 compared to 155 in 2019, roughly on par with the 148 sales in 2017.

The average 2019 sales price of a single-family home came very close to $400,000 at $398,553 compared to $346,500 in 2018 and $308,531 in 2017.

READ MORE: Assessed home values jump by 20 per cent in Terrace

Love noted that these are averages and that even a small number of sales in the $800,000 range can affect the average price.

And while sales may have slowed during the first part of 2020, Love says there’s a good amount of optimism in the local market.

“We’re seeing new buyers. The rental market is very low so people are out there wanting to buy something,” she said.

Despite demands for rental housing, entrepreneurs and developers are reluctant to construct rental housing given the return on investment and tensions which can exist between landlords and tenants, Love added.

“There are people asking, ‘Do I really want to get into the rental market?’” she said.

READ MORE: City to see eight per cent tax hike in 2020

In looking ahead, Love did forecast new housing starts with some available subdivisions already posting ‘sold’ signs on lots.

“There are new people showing up, younger ones in the 30s and 40s, young couples of working age coming here for the LNG industry,” she said.

“You’re going to see the town become even busier.”

All told, in Terrace 282 properties sold in 2019 for a value of $95.4 million compared to 380 properties selling in 2018 at a value of $117.8 million.

In addition to single-family residential sales, 2019 saw 24 parcels of vacant land sold, 25 homes on acreage, 26 manufactured homes in parks and a further nine manufactured homes on other lands.

Kitimat registered 100 single-family home sales in 2019 at an average price of $373,146 compared to 168 home sales in 2018 at an average price of $298,200.

As of Dec. 31, 2019 there were 192 properties for sale on the Multiple Listing Service, up from 151 properties available as of Dec. 31, 2018.

Across the north, total property sales were worth $1.5 billion in 2019, the same dollar figure as 2018.

And sales were down in 2019 at 4,748 compared to 5,125 in 2018.

“A struggling B.C. forestry sector and an uncertain environment for global trade held back housing demand in the second half of 2019, ultimately leading to Multiple Listing Service unit sales in the region covered by the B.C. Northern Real Estate Board to fall by 6.1 per cent compared to last year,” reported the board.

Still, the average house price across the north rose by 5.1 per cent, averaging $310,548.

Terrace had the highest average residential sales price at $398,553 of the 15 communities covered by the real estate board stretching from 100 Mile House in the Cariboo to the northeast and along Hwy 16 to the north coast.

Fort St. John was second at $375,775 and Prince George a close third at $371,443.

The lowest average sales price for 2019 was in Fort Nelson at $119,797.

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