Real estate market bustling since mill closure last year

Real estate agents say sales are up and the market is busy, despite the closure of HFP last year.

West Fraser salvaged and sold all the parts they could from Houston Forest Products sawmill and planer. They sent parts of HFP to Oregon

West Fraser salvaged and sold all the parts they could from Houston Forest Products sawmill and planer. They sent parts of HFP to Oregon

Remax owner Lia Long says 30 percent of her sales were to buyers from Whitehorse, Alberta, Williams Lake, Quesnel, Smithers, Burns Lake, Prince George, Fort St. John and the Lower Mainland.

Sales in 2014 went up 40 percent from 2013, she said.

“I’ve actually been busier then I was prior to the mill closure,” Long said.

“Last year was one of the best years I’ve ever had and this year has been exceptional so far too.”

House prices have not dropped and Long says she thinks the population has not either.

“A lot of people are coming here to work or retire… it’s just affordable,” she said.

Dan Hansma, owner of Calderwood Realty, says the market slowed down for a few months after the HFP closure announcement in October 2013, but then when the mill closed in May 2014, sales picked right up.

“It was busy for the rest of the year,” he said.

Hansma says his sales are up compared to last year, and there are less properties on the market.

“So far, the market in 2015 has been steady,” he said.

“Prices don’t seem to fluctuate too much in Houston (even with the recent mill closure), rather we see a slight and steady increase in property values over time.”