With the upswing of the economy and buyer confidence, the Grand Forks real estate market has seen a positive improvement.
Sharon Marshall, broker and owner of Discover Bounder Country Realty, pointed out the activity in the market place has improved this year.
She attributes the boost to lowered housing prices and buyer confidence compared to the dire situation in 2008.
“It’s still an extremely difficult market and is price driven. The areas that don’t have as much in services and infrastructure are still struggling – there are less sales in those areas as opposed to the Grand Forks area itself,” she explained. “In Christina Lake, there have been some reasonable sales but the prices have been dramatically lower.”
According to the British Columbia Real Estate Association, there was a drop in multiple listing services (MLS) on the average price in the Kootenays from Cranbrook to Grand Forks. Comparatively, listings in Vancouver remained relatively flat and increased by 0.6 per cent.
Marshall also noted there is a lot of pent up demand for people who would like to move in but haven’t been able to sell their homes due to the market.
Working within Grand Forks, Greenwood, Midway and Christina Lake, Marshall pointed out a buyer can purchase an exceptionally nice, large home for under $350,000.
“For a home that is a little older and spacious with a basement, a buyer can get one for under $250,000,” she said. “Prices for rentals are also significantly lower here as well.”
Realtor Gary Smith of Grand Forks Realty pointed out there has been a 10 per cent drop in sale prices from last year.
“It’s pretty close to were it was last year in terms of sales,” he said. “We’ve got a few more this year but nothing substantial but prices are around $200,000. A residential detached home last year was around $204,000, and this year it is around $180,000.”
Marshall added there seems to be a fair bit of vacant (property for rent) and part of that is due to transition phase of the Silver Kettle Village.
The arrival of Silver Kettle Village for seniors, something that was desperately needed, has had a dramatic effect on the real estate market here, Marshall added.
With the seniors moving into the retirement village, the seniors also need to sell their homes so prices have dropped and rental properties have become more numerous, she said.
“There has been a boost. With the seniors moving into the home, it provides inventory and it does provide a better selection for people to buy a home,” Smith said.
Movement is slow but it is getting better, he added.
“It does affect the surrounding area as well because of the movement of people into the complex,” Marshall explained. “Everything goes in cycles and we now have the American election behind us and the U.S. economy seems to be recovering. We certainly have the nicety of the Canadian dollar stability in our banking system. I sincerely believe that 2013 will be an even better year than 2012.”
Marshall noted this is a good time for those who are thinking of purchasing a home.
“The mortgage rate is at an all time low, the lenders have money to lend and the prices are enviable – you can find some stunning bargains for excellent homes in good locations, under $200,000 even,” she said. “If anyone is renting and thinking to look, they should look now.”
For more information on the Kootenay real estate market, visit the British Columbia Real Estate Association’s website at bcrea.bc.ca.