Prices and sales for single-family homes rose in 2017

The city's real estate market enjoyed a rebound over the past year.

Following on a shaky 2016, in which the rise in the average price for a single-family home was countered by a drop in the number of sales, there were increases on both fronts for 2017, according to year-end numbers released this week by the B.C. Northern Real Estate Board.

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Homes sold for $325,550,340 on average, up by $21,982 or 7.4 per cent, over the reigning level for 2016. And the number of sales stood at 1,020, an increase of 115 sales or 12.7-per-cent over the previous year.

That worked out to $325.6 million worth of activity, a jump of $72.9 million or 28.8 per cent.

In contrast, from 2015 to 2016, activity actually declined by $25.1 million or nine per cent, to $252.7 million, despite a $12,574 increase in the average price. That 4.4-per-cent increase was not enough to offset the impact of a 71-unit, or 7.3 per cent, drop in the number of sales.

BCNREB director Bob Quinlan made note of a marked upticks north of the Nechako River and in the Bowl area.

In the former, the median price - the point at which half the homes went for above that level and half went for below - stood at $322,500, up $28,500, while there were 232 sales, an increase of 45. In the latter, the median price was $231,000 and there were 224 sales, up by 42.

Both were the city's weak spots in 2016.

Quinlan attributed the brisker activity north of the river to the number of custom homes being built on larger properties. As for the Bowl, he pointed to a combination of empty nesters buying then renovating and old homes being torn down and replaced with something new.

College Heights continued to lead the way in terms of both price and sales. The median price was $390,000, up by $38,000 while the number of sales stood at 277, up by 22. West of Central Street, the median price was $283,000, up by $13,000, and there were 273 sales, up by three.

"Overall, I find prices have gone up and sales have gone up but when you blend it all for Prince George, I guess we're really getting a picky type of market," Quinlan said. "People are being specific, but they're willing to pay the price if they see what they want."

Looking at properties of all types, 1,562 exchanged hands for $461.3 million in total, up from 1,424 properties for $400.6 million in 2016.

Looking ahead, Quinlan repeated comments he made in another interview this week - that the new stress test for insured mortgages will affect the market for higher-end homes but should leave mid-price home largely untouched.

"It's steady as she goes but I think we're going to have a very good year this year," he said.

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