Home sales and selling prices rise across Northwest BC in first quarter of 2021

Joshua Azizi
04/09/2021


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The B.C. Northern Real Estate Board has released data on home sales for the first quarter of 2021, and the stats make it clear: the housing market in Northwest B.C. right now is a hot one. 

From January to March, there were more property sales in the Northwest's four largest municipalities than in the same three-month period in 2019 and 2020.

With the exception of Smithers, there are similar results when you narrow it down to single family home sales.

The selling prices for single-family homes are going up as well. On average, single-family homes in Prince Rupert and Smithers are selling for over $120,000 more than what they sold for a year ago. In Terrace, selling prices increased by just over $92,000. In contrast, they only increased by around $8,500 in Kitimat.

Overall, Board president Sandra Hinchliffe described the results as "interesting."

"The numbers are way up from the first quarter of last year," she said. "Usually our stats are a little bit more boring than this, but these are a little bit eye-popping."

So what's causing this busy market? Hinchliffe says there's a number of factors in play.

"Especially in Northwest B.C., our economy is doing very well. LNG is spending a lot of money and that's having an effect. Unemployment is pretty low. Around Smithers, we're affected by the [Prince Rupert] port as well. CN [Rail] is a big employer here, and I'm sure you know how busy the port is. There's also a lot of people that are just deciding to come to the Northwest. It's a beautiful region, there's lots to offer, it's clean."

However, with an increase in demand comes more pressure on the region's low housing supply. As a result, Hinchliffe says this makes housing expensive.

"When there's not enough supply and more demand, people are going to start paying more. Multiple offers are pretty common, and that drives up the prices."

For anyone looking to buy or sell a home right now, Hinchliffe suggests acting carefully and doing your research before making any decisions.
 

First-quarter property sales in Northwest B.C. (January - March)
  2019 2020 2021
Kitimat 19 18 55
Prince Rupert 34 47 69
Smithers 44 43 70
Terrace 53 58 69
 
First-quarter single-family home sales in Northwest B.C. (January - March)
  2019 2020 2021
Kitimat 12 11 35
Prince Rupert 22 29 43
Smithers 19 23 22
Terrace 26 29 33
 
First-quarter average selling prices for single-family homes in Northwest BC (January - March)
  Kitimat Prince Rupert Smithers Terrace
2019 $358,950 $278,000 $274,389 $376,626
2020 $356,856 $302,818 $261,326 $346,886
2021 $367,416 $430,162 $385,068 $439,154

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