Northwest B.C. is witnessing a dramatic real estate boom in the first half of 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic-induced recession slowly begins to wane across the province.
While the number of properties sold in 2021 has doubled since 2020, the real estate prices have significantly increased too.
Realtors in the Kitimat area sold 121 properties worth $43.8 million in the first six months of 2021, compared to 48 properties worth $15 million in the same period last year, according to a report released by BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) on July 9.
Half of the 74 single-family homes that sold fetched less than $370,000. On average it took 81 days to sell those homes. At the end of June, there were 140 properties available for purchase in the Kitimat area.
The booming real estate trend is also an indicator that the steep pandemic-induced recession of 2020-21 is waning rapidly across the province and B.C. is on a trajectory to reach an economic growth rate of six per cent in 2021 – a 25-year high, based on BCNREB’s report.
Some of the high-profile projects from northern B.C. such as the LNG Canada’s terminal and Rio Tinto’s tunnel-boring project near Kitimat are listed as contributors to this growth. Coastal Gaslink Pipeline, Trans Mountain pipeline, Site-C Dam near Fort St. John are other projects that employ thousands of workers and seem to be boosting employment growth and housing demand in northern BC, according to the report.
In the Terrace area, 200 properties worth $84.2 million have sold in the first six months of 2021, compared to 105 properties worth $34.1 million at this time in 2020. In addition, 16 parcels of vacant land, 9 half-duplexes and 21 homes on acreages changed hands in the first six months of the year.
Similarly in Prince Rupert, 164 properties worth $62.2 million were sold so far this year compared to 89 properties worth $29.9 million in 2020.
The report also shows a trend of “record low inventory,” meaning that not many properties are being listed for sale. This trend of low inventory of available homes, combined with heightened demand is further exacerbating a price growth in northern B.C.
According to British Columbia Real Estate Association’s forecast for the remaining half of 2021, real estate sales will surpass the previous record of 5,564 units sold in 2006. It also estimates home prices to rise by 20 per cent in 2021.
Currently, BCNREB has already reported a sale of 3,565 properties with a total value of $1.2 billion sold so far in 2021, in northern B.C.
-With files from Jacob Lubberts