Residential real estate sales in both Houston and Burns Lake increased in 2019 from 2018, indicate latest statistics from the B.C. Northern Real Estate Board.
And average prices for homes also increased during the same period.
In Houston, 36 homes sold for an average $187,852 in 2019 compared to 32 homes at an average sales price of $174,067 in 2018.
And in Burns Lake, 35 homes sold for an average $168,982 in 2019, up from 26 homes at an average price of $163,238 the year before.
Houston’s 2019 sales were also up from 2017 when 29 homes sold for an average $183,306.
Burns Lake’s 2019 sales were down a bit from 2017 when 44 homes sold but the average price was lower than at $142,723.
When all property sales were calcuated, there were 52 transactions worth $5.2 million in 2019 in Houston compared to 42 transactions worth $7.8 million in 2018.
In Burns Lake, 84 properties in all sold for $13.9 million in 2019 compared to 81 transactions at $12.5 million in 2018.
Smithers registered fewer residential sales in 2019 with 93 transactions compared to 116 in 2018 but average prices increased to $302,535 compared to $296,499 in 2018.
As of Dec. 31, 2019 there were 16 properties of all types available through the Multiple Listing Service in the Houston area and 78 properties of all types available in the Burns Lake area.
Houston and area realtor Jantina Hamelink described the local market as optimistic and steady.
“There is the uncertainty about the forestry industry but there is optimism about the pipeline,” she said of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline project which will ramp up as the year moves on.
And local prices in contrast with the Smithers are are proving attractive to people looking for affordable accommodation, Hamelink said.
“Prices here rose by 1 one percent and 11 per cent in Smithers.”
She’s not aware of any plans for larger scale residential construction, noting that it is still cheaper to buy than to build with construction prices in the $250 a square foot range.
Houston did see five new residential constructions in 2019 for a value of $386,000.
Across the north, total property sales were worth $1.5 billion in 2019, the same dollar figure as was the case in 2018.
And sales were down in 2019 at 4,748 compared to 5,125 in 2018.
“A struggling B.C. forestry sector and an uncertain environment for global trade held back housing demand in the second half of 2019, ultimately leading to Multiple Listing Service unit sales in the region covered by the B.C. Northern Real Estate Board to fall by 6.1 per cent compared to last year,” reported the board.
Still, the average house price across the north rose by 5.1 per cent, averaging $310,548.
Terrace had the highest average residential sales price at $398,553 of the 15 communities covered by the real estate board stretching from 100 Mile House in the Cariboo to the northeast and along Hwy16 to the north coast.
Fort St. John was second at $375,775 and Prince George a close third at $371,443.
The lowest average sales price for 2019 was in Fort Nelson at $119,797.