Houston property values are among the few to drop in the northwest area in 2015.
A BC Assessment report says the total value of residential properties in Houston dropped 1.7 percent in 2015, from $159,963,000 in 2014 to $157,184,000 in 2015.
But even with this drop overall, BC Assessment reports that the average value of homes in Houston is the same.
The value of an average single family dwelling was estimated $140,000 in 2015, the same as it was valued in 2014.
The total value of businesses in Houston has actually gone up 0.6 percent, from $56,771,000 in 2014 to $57,102,000 in 2015.
Those numbers are based on information collected July 2014 and local real estate agencies agree they are still accurate.
Remax owner Lia Long says overall property values are “pretty much the same” this year as last year and she’s been surprised by the busy market.
Last year “actually ended up being one the busiest years I’ve had, which is surprising because of the mill closure,” she said.
“It was a very good year. It started in June, and it’s been very steady.”
Even now, during the season when real estate is normally pretty quiet, Long is still keeping busy.
She says Remax sold 63 properties in Houston and five in Topley in 2014 and now she feels like they’re almost short on listings.
“We had a lot of listings in the summer, but almost everything sold. Now there’s only 29 listings in total. In the summer there was 80.”
Long says half of the buyers were from other areas, including Fort St. John, Yukon, Kitimat, Terrace, Williams Lake, Prince George, Quesnel and Alberta.
“Our area is very affordable so we get a lot of inquiries because of that… people can live on one income quite comfortably and there’s quite a bit of work in the area as well. A lot of people can work camp jobs and live here… and this area offers a great lifestyle.
“We’re way cheaper then Smithers. The same house in Smithers would probably cost $125 to $150,000 more.”
It also helps that we’re “right in the centre of the Prince George to Prince Rupert area and there’s lots of development and things going to happen in this area,” Long said.
“People’s attitudes are really positive.”
Most in demand are small acreages and single family dwellings, Long says.
BC Assessment says other northwestern communities are seeing increasing property values.
“Most homes in the area are worth more,” said Geoff Radtke, Deputy Assessor with the North Region.
“Most home owners in the Northwest Assessment Area will see changes in the 10 to 35 percent range.”
Property values in places like Kitimat, Terrace, Port Edward, and Hazelton jumped over 30 percent in 2015.
Prince Rupert and Stewart saw property values climb over 10 percent.
Smithers homes are increasing close to five percent, and Telkwa homes are down 0.7 percent in value.
The value of businesses in Smithers is up 2.6 percent, and in Telkwa they’re up 6.8 percent.
Long from Remax says she’s “really optimistic” about what’s to come for Houston.
“The market has been really good and I think it’s going to get even better. Hopefully we’ll see prices start to climb a little bit this year.”