The BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) released its quarterly report Wednesday indicating that property sales are up in Williams Lake area compared to the previous year’s first quarter.
Over the last three months, 63 properties were sold through MLS in the Williams Lake area, up from 53 in the same time frame last year. The value of these properties was $13.3 million compared to a value of $10.4 million in 2011.
In addition to the 29 single family homes sold, 13 homes on acreage, seven manufactured homes in parks and two manufactured homes on land have changed hands in the first quarter, says the BCNREB report.
As of March 31, there were 414 properties listed on the MLS in the Williams Lake area, compared to 409 during the first quarter of 2011.
Local real estate agent and director on the BCNREB Willy Burger says the region has faired well the more north you go.
While the Williams Lake area saw a “light” increase, Quesnel’s was substantial, but in 100 Mile House there was a decrease in volume and sales.
“The interior is definitely active and at the moment there is an increase in listings coming in. That’s typical in the spring as more sellers are going out on the market,” explains Burger, adding with the rates being the way they are it makes it desirable for buyers to come into the market.
The industry is seeing more first-time buyers hoping to get into the market and prices have been fairly stable.
“We haven’t had a huge surge on the values of properties, which is good for buyers and good for sellers because buyers are there.”
In the report, stats indicate that average home prices have increased by around $20,000, from $212,831 to $233,082, however, Burger says stats can be easily skewed.
If a few high-end homes are sold, then that can bring the average up. In 2010, he explains, there were more low-end priced homes sold.
“You always have to take the statistics lightly,” Burger suggests, adding all that said, it’s definitely positive for buyers and sellers out there.
Burger has been on the BCNREB since 2005, although he took one year off, and now he’s being “recycled,” he says with a chuckle.
While there’s activity with first-time buyers and people wanting to upgrade, or move in or out of the rural areas to the city and vice versa — what Burger describes as a pendulum that’s constantly swinging — he also notices there’s a shortage of affordable housing in the area.
“Some people just cannot afford to go into the market because they are in that income bracket. It’s tough out there for people who have a part-time job, or three or four part-time jobs to make ends meet,” he says.
It’s nice to talk about first-time buyers, but they still need money, so affordable housing is a tough issue.
Over his years in the real estate business since 1991, Burger has seen a few curves.
“Years ago it was more affordable, but wages were a bit different.”