(File photo)

(File photo)

Low inventory, near-record sales driving property prices up in northern B.C.

In Williams Lake 595 sales worth $196.5 million were reported through MLS® in 2021

The combination of near-record sales and record low inventory is driving property prices to new records, notes the latest information from the BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB).

BCNREB members reported 6,701 property sales worth $2.4 billion in 2021 through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), up from last year’s 5,083 sales worth $1.6 billion.

In the Cariboo region, properties in all areas are up.

In 100 Mile House 797 properties worth $266.8 million sold this year through MLS®, compared with 616 properties worth $177.4 million in 2020. The 179 single-family homes that sold in 2021 had a median value (half sold for less) of $395,000. In addition, 305 parcels of vacant land, 185 homes on acreage, 57 manufactured homes on land, 11 manufactured homes in parks and 32 recreational properties changed hands in 2021. At the end of December, there were 136 properties of all types available for sale through MLS® in the 100 Mile House area, down from the 199 properties at the end of 2020.

In Williams Lake 595 sales worth $196.5 million were reported through MLS® in 2021, up from 455 sales worth $126.9 million the previous year. Half of the 213 single-family homes sold in 2021 sold for less than $370,000. Additionally, 79 parcels of vacant land, 123 homes on acreage, 36 townhouses, 38 manufactured homes in parks and 46 manufactured homes on land were also sold in 2021. At the end of December, there were 94 properties of all types available through MLS® in the Williams Lake area, down from the 125 properties at the same time last year.

In Quesnel 486 properties changed hands in 2021 through MLS®, up from 398 that were sold in 2020. The value of these properties was $138.6 million ($97.7 million in 2020). The median value of the 155 single-family homes sold in 2021 was $325,000. In addition, 96 parcels of vacant land, 118 homes on acreage, 24 manufactured homes in parks and a further 45 on land were reported sold in 2021. At year-end, there were 85 properties of all types available for purchase through MLS® in the Quesnel area, down from 113 properties at the end of 2020.

According to BCNREB, residential unit sales in the north remain elevated, although less so than during the frenetic first and second quarters of 2021. Seasonally adjusted sales in the fourth quarter of 2021 are roughly 30 per cent above the level of the fourth quarter of 2019, prior to any effects from the pandemic, but are down 21 per cent from the third quarter. Active listings continued their decline in fourth quarter, falling 16 per cent from the third quarter, continuing a long-run downward trend in the number of actives which has predated the pandemic to 2015 or earlier. Residential prices are up roughly 28 per cent since the start of the pandemic and in the fourth quarter averaged $399,615. Average days on market rose from 55 to 67 on a seasonally adjusted basis from quarter three to quarter four but are down from 71 days in the same quarter last year.

In 2021, the real estate market in the north boomed. Although it did not hit a record for sales, it came close, with sales in 2006 just 62 units higher. While new listings have remained steady throughout 2021 compared to prior years, very high sales activity drove active listings to the lowest level since records begin in 2000. These factors drove the sales-to-active-listings ratio to record highs in 2021, surpassing the frenetic market activity for 2005-06, reaching a record of 40 per cent in March. This, in turn, caused the average sale price in northern B.C. to surge 17.6 per cent from $325,615 in 2020 to $382,786 in 2021.

Housing markets across the north ended the year with sales trending about 25 per cent above long-term average levels, pointing to a fast start to 2022.

“Unfortunately, the region will also start the year with extremely low supply, which means continued upward pressure on home prices. We expect markets will remain tight through the first half of 2022 before rising mortgage rates and expected tightening by the Bank of Canada starts to temper demand,” notes BCNREB.

Read More: STICKER SHOCK: BC Assessment property values up significantly in Williams Lake

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