Prices rise, sales drop for single-family homes in Prince George

Single-family homes sold for $350,713 on average in Prince George over the course of 2018, according to year-end B.C. Northern Real Estate numbers issued Thursday.

That amounts to a $31,546 increase over the average for 2017 but was offset by a drop in the number of sales which declined by 103 transactions to 917.

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As a result, total activity on that front went down by $3.9 million to $321.6 million.

Real estate agent Bob Quinlan said the trends are a sign people are willing to pay for what they want but not necessarily settling for something less than what they're seeking.

He added that there has been a move towards higher density - townhouses and condominiums.

New homes appeared to be a main driver. According to year-end Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation numbers, the 10 new homes sold in December went for an average $575,890, compared to $462,276 on 27 sales for the same month in 2017.

Although starts on new homes remained steady at 194, compared to 190 over 2017, the number completed stood at 155, down from 177 over 2017.

Canadian Home Builders Association-Northern B.C. treasurer Jody Tindal pinned the decline on a longer winter last year and a strain on the availability of trades starting in the summer.

"This seems to be easing now with everyone getting caught up with the milder weather so far this winter," said Tindal, who operates Belledune Homes.

She said mutiple-family was the big winner in 2018 - 206 units were started and 161 completed in 2018, up from 67 starts and 69 completions over 2017 - and added that more of those types of projects are expected to start in 2019.

"Single family home starts should remain flat for 2019 given the rising costs and financing challenges, but the rental market will see some relief with some of these great projects finishing up," Tindal said.

Quinlan noted plenty of activity in terms of commercial sales during the latter part of 2018 and took that to be a sign of confidence in the local economy. As well, he said interest rates will rise only marginally in 2019.

Here's a further look at the BCNREB numbers:

The average price for a house on acreage stood at $451,945, an increase of $49,692.

Looking at properties of all types, 1,400 worth $444.9 million exchanged hands in 2018, compared with 1,562 properties worth $461.3 million in 2017.

West of the Central Street, half of the 270 single-family homes sold in 2018, sold for less than $312,500. As well, 21 apartment units and 47 townhouses changed hands in 2018.

As of Dec. 31, there were 26 single-family homes available through the Multiple Listing Service in this area of the city, which is unchanged from the 26 at the same time last year.

East of Central Street, 179 single-family homes sold for a median value of $254,000 while 55 apartment units, 24 half-duplexes, and 22 townhouses sold in 2018.

At the end of December there were 29 single-family homes available for sale in that area, compared with 25 at the end of 2017.

In the northern part of the city, of the 195 single-family homes sold, half sold for less than $355,000.

Twenty-five homes on acreage, 18 manufactured homes in parks and a further 56 manufactured homes on land sold in 2018.

As of Dec. 31, there were 37 single-family homes available for sale in that area, compared with 25 at the end of 2017.

In the southwest, half of the 264 single-family homes sold in 2018 sold for less than $425,000.

As well, 12 half-duplexes, 23 townhouses, 10 homes on acreage, 17 manufactured homes in Parks and a further 4 manufactured homes on land sold in 2018.

At year-end, there were 54 single-family homes available for sale through MLS in the southwest sector, compared with the 56 at the end of 2017.

Overall, there were 462 properties on the MLS, compared to 448 at the end of 2017.

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