Pandemic bites northern BC real estate market

The COVID-19 crisis is taking a toll on real estate sales in northern B.C., with demand for housing tailing off and fewer properties up for sale compared to 2019.

During the first quarter of 2020, from January through March, the BC Northern Real Estate Board had 753 sales worth a total of $217,389,724 through its Multiple Listing Service.

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There were 3,096 properties of all types available throughout the first three months of 2020, compared to 3,130 a year ago. As of March 31st there were 509 properties available, down from 534 at that time in 2019.

The sluggish economy in the region, especially in the forestry, mining and oil/gas sectors, is to blame for the 13 per cent decline in sales in the region, according to the BCNREB. With fewer listings available, the average price for a single-family home did increase by one per cent to $298,811.

In Prince George, 221 properties were $73.3 million were sold. That’s down from 257 properties worth about $90 million through the first three months of 2019. Three of the four sections of the city included in the report released Friday reported an increase in the median selling price of single-family homes over last year.

In the western part of Prince George, 34 single-family homes sold with a median value of $346,000 ($327,500 in 2019). East of Highway 97, 29 homes sold, worth a median $272,500 ($309,000).

In the Hart area north of the Nechako River, 29 homes sold with a median price of $401,250 ($370,000). In the southwest section, 37 homes sold in the first three months of the year had a median price of $453,500 ($429,500).

The board expects second-quarter sales will continue to decline in the wake of the pandemic and the resulting scale-back of operations for major resource projects in the region.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant challenges to everyone in our society,” said BCNREB president Shawna Kinsley. “Our members are committed to doing their part to ensure communities stay safe. Real estate is an essential service.

“Realtors are following all orders and guidance from the Public Health Authority… (and) are also modifying their practices around face-to-face meetings and showings. The real estate board has recommended that no open houses be held during this time.

“Sellers may now remain on the MLS system without the need for showings and all consumers can expect more phone or virtual meetings as well as limits on showings and new showing guidelines. We ask consumers to be patient with real estate practice changes at this time.”

Other real estate sales in the region from January-March 2020, with the 2019 numbers in parenthesis:

Mackenzie: Ten (12) properties were sold worth $1.5 million ($1.4 million) with 56 (63) properties available on MLS for purchase as of March 31;

Burns Lake: Four (16) properties worth $456,000 ($2.3 million) were sold with 80 (87) properties listed;

 Vanderhoof: Nineteen (30) sales worth $4.4 million ($12.2 million) with 89 (80) properties listed;

 Fort St. James: Eleven (nine) sales worth $2.1 million ($1.9 million) with 54 (61) properties listed;

Quesnel: Forty-seven (55) sales worth $8.5 million ($11.7 million) with 161 (147) properties listed.

Williams Lake: Fifty-eight (91) properties have sold worth $ 15.4 million ($21.4) with  190 (207) properties listed.


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