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October 27, 2017 9:40 pm

Home Sales Slip in North

Thursday, August 11, 2016 @ 2:10 PM

Prince George, B.C.- The real estate market  throughout Northern B.C. has cooled somewhat  says the BC Real Estate Association.

According to the  latest stats,  the January to July  numbers show a  slight decline of 2.5%  in the number of residential units sold  within the Northern BC Real Estate Board  region  compared to the same period last year.

“Housing demand has moderated in many regions of the province, after setting records earlier in the year,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.

Comparing just July to July, there were  427 sales last month compared to 474 sales  in July of 2015, representing a decrease of 9.9%.

The  year to date average selling price  has also slipped slightly,  with the average  selling price  in the first 7 months of this year  being $263,240 dollars,  down  one tenth of a percent from the average selling price of $263,613 recorded in the first seven months of  last year.



Another head scratcher; home sales down in Northern BC, but home building starts up in Prince George. Yawn, spin it anyway you want… PG is stagnant, has been for decades, and will be for the foreseeable future. Don’t let a pre-election Christy Clark government tell you different.

Remember her last election campaign speech up here in PG? “Prince George and Northern BC are on the verge of an economic boom…” same old same old, but hey, now we have visions and dreams of a beef processing plant and beef flying through the air from PG to around the world, got to replace the busted LNG pipe dream with something I suppose.

    2.5% isn’t significant either way. Home sales up – my theory is people such as myself can no longer afford to retire in the Lower Mainland or the Okanagen due to the house price differential – so we’re retiring here. In the past once your hair started to gray, you sold your house and moved and that made room for someone younger. Now we boomers aren’t leaving, creating a false sense of a housing boom. When we start dying off, unless some big job creator hits the north, you’ll see the housing market go backward as there won’t really be any demand for our houses.

    I have noticed that since Christy Clark became Premier that it has been raining more.

    For Christy being such an incompetent buffoon, it’s somewhat embarrassing that BC according to most economists, is still doing better than the ROC. I’m sure we’re prospering in spite of her, not because of her. Still, must be difficult to explain why right wing BC is doing better than left wing Ontario – I mean, they’ve got the low Canadian dollar like they asked for, so what’s holding them back?

      I have looked at the population demographics at Stats Canada and they have this to say about Prince George population break down by age: “In 2011, the percentage of the population aged 65 and over in Prince George was 11.6%, compared with a national percentage of 14.8%. The percentage of the working age population (15 to 64) was 70.6% and the percentage of children aged 0 to 14 was 17.8%. In comparison, the national percentages were 68.5% for the population aged 15 to 64 and 16.7% for the population aged 0 to 14.”

      Seems most of the population in PG (over 70%) is working age population, without economic growth in our region there are no “new” jobs, without new jobs we have stagnation.

      It might just get worse, because of the two mines that have closed and the sawmills in Quesnel and Houston closing, all those laid-off workers are being retrained for pipeline work… work that is not going to come.

      One of the things that is holding them back is the increasing isolationism of the USA. The USA is our main market partner. Never mind the price of tea in China, so to speak. The USA is trying to climb out of an economic recession and is not about to do it by giving Ontario more manufacturing jobs when they need those jobs themselves.

      We have managed, due in part to foresight as well as some luck, to diversify our lumber market away from the USA and into China. Ontario has not had the same foresight for their industry or luck or both.

      Everyone and their dog needs jobs in the world because other than a handful of countries, the other richest countries in the world have not yet discovered another way to share the wealth of the ever growing class of the super-rich.

      Those who have the ingenuity and the state government to support them financially through research and development subsidies paid for through successfully competing in the world marketplace have done well. Canada has to work some more on changing the mindset of how business used to be done on this side of the Atlantic and work on how it is done in those country which have managed to not only survive but excel in a world marketplace.

      You have failed to look at the number of people per household. In a retirement community such as Victoria it is actually below 2 per dwelling unit. It has been inching to that level for a couple of decades in PG where it used to be above 3.

      Do the math.

      25,000 dwelling units at 3 per unit = 75,000 population

      Ssay over a 20 year period at an average of 250 housing units a year, that is 5,000 new units.

      So, that gets us to 30,000 units at 2.5 people per unit = 75,000

      Those figures are just approximate. Statscan will provide the real figures which will closely reflect the simplified figures.

      On top of that, people have been moving out of the 1,000sf (plus basement) college heights special of the 1970/80s and moving into 1,400 to 1,800 sf finished space plus garage style houses to “invest” in real estate in the hopes that it will give them a nest egg for retirement.

      No, I’m not a ‘libertarian’.

    Who cares about Christy Clark. She has the entire province to look at. PG is less than 2% of her provincial pie and it has not been growing in population since the end of the last millennium. However, it has been surviving and, as far as services goes, it has grown in some areas and shrunk in others.

    PG is primarily the business of our City Council as well as the Regional District it is part of. As the work of the local government goes, so does the character, the image, and the lifestyle of the City and its citizens.

    A significant population, over 15%, lives outside the boundaries but in the immediate daily trading area and have an impact on what I prefer to call Greater Prince George Area(GPGA). If the City can borrow Ontario’s slogan, “yours to discover”, I feel I can borrow the acronym of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). It reflects much better the nature of the growing size of the hole in the donut and expansion of the ring around it where the development has been occurring in the beginning of the 21st century.

    Our local governments need to take ownership of the hurdles we are facing in attracting new businesses and new services here, especially new types of businesses and services.

    IPG has been absorbed into City Hall. There has been no change over the last year. There is no word from the so-called Select Advisory Committee on Economic Development of when they will deliver a new strategic plan which will have objectives that are measurable and will report out to the community on an annual basis not only on output, but also on the successes and failures of the strategies.

    Taking a page out of John Kennedy’s inaugural address – ask not what your Provincial Government can do for you and your City and Regional Government, but what you and your City and Regional Governments can do for your province.

      John Kennedy was hopeless as a President. The only saving grace for his reputation came from his assassination, which elevated him to demi-God status entirely undeserved otherwise.

      As for his, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” comment, if taken the way a lot of people seem to want to take it the meaning is that every individual only exists to serve some form of association. In this case the ‘State’. Rather than associations being freely entered into and maintained to better serve all the individuals associating AS INDIVIDUALS. It is a very militarist philosophy ~ “…the individual Marine is nothing, the US Marine Corps everything.” Right at home with the philosophies of fascism and communism.

      So you are a libertarian.

So you folks predicted the boom and bust in shale gas, oil the Saudis flooding the market. Must have made millions. Not defending Christy but hey look at the bigger picture.

    It has happened before and it will happen again.

    Remember, the recession in the USA came primarily as a result of the sub prime issue. Once there is a recession, the demand on products and services is reduced. Energy is a product that is not immune to that.

    On top of that, we have had the introduction of old/new drilling technology to access gas and oil which was not viable when the price was low. The addition of that energy source onto the domestic market had a significant effect as well.

    What the next surprise will be, who only knows. When you look at what Iceland is doing with geothermal, for instance, it can be done in some other places as well. Even shallow drilling will access strata with less thermal variance over the seasonal changes to mitigate the amount of heating and cooling that needs to happen in more traditional methods.

      BC has some of the best geothermal potential in the world, and some of the leading industry experts employed abroad. The BCUC recommended geothermal and other sources to diversify our generating sources. IPPs are being paid by BC hydro to “turn down” because there is no market for power. They are paying IPPs to NOT generate. Great work if you can get it. When Christy came to power, she was going to look at IPPs. Shortly after her announcement……….crickets. Why the silence?

“stagnant” PG under a Liberal government is better than a recessive PG with double digit unemployment rates under an NDP government.

    Not once during the NDP’s tenure did BC record negative economic growth! From 1987 to 1992 B.C. had that historic population boom because Canada’s economy was much weaker than B.C.’s over that period – 300,000 workers moved to BC in the space of a single decade. In 2000, the NDP’s’ last full year in office, B.C. recorded an economic growth of 4.6%. When the BC Liberal’s came to power they benefited from one of the biggest commodity booms in world history. The two-decade-long decline in real commodity prices ended and global demand for energy, base metals and agricultural products boomed starting in 2001. From 1992 through to 2000, during the NDP’s’ 9 years in power B.C.’s GDP grew by an annual average of 3%. The Liberals took a $35 billion dollar debt and turned it into $170 billion debt – $70 billion in liabilities (debt + other liabilities) plus an additional $96.374 billion in contractual obligations – provincial debt has increased by a factor of 5 times!

      Sorry but total NDP bs. PG did drop population during the NDP. The only saving grace to the numbers is greater Vancouver was up in immigration. Everyone else was losing people. When you drop to the tenth province in growth behind the atlantics you have a problem. We are now #1 amongst them. Unfortunately we are going to repeat history once again because there is no other party that can keep us where we are. Your generation will learn and then your children will forget and back we go

Home sales locally have more to do with supply and demand and local politics and less to do with the province. At least not up here this far away from the action. I like it that way. The less Victoria in PG, the better PG will be.

3 comments in a row, Gus is in fine form today.

    So, attacking the person rather than the idea is your modus operandi. Real smart. Almost Trump-like.

We started to sell more lumber to China because of the recession in the USA, and because of the Russian export tax of 25% on raw logs to China.

This afforded us an opportunity to sell our beetle kill lumber to China. Most of this lumber never went through a planer, because it is basically used for concrete forming.

There are a number of things that have changed in the Chinese and US market. The Chinese housing market is declining, while housing starts in the USA are on the rise. Russia is now exporting softwood lumber to China on a grand scale. Russian lumber exports to China in April of this year were a staggering 1.5 million cubic metres. In April BC shipped 575,000 cubic metres worth of lumber to China, down 16% from April 2015.

In 2015 BC producers exported 6.5 million cubic metres of lumber to China, versus 15.5 million cubic metres to the USA.

It looks like there will be a big shift in Canadian sales of lumber to China because of the Russian influence, however at this point in time with the price of lumber in the USA of $332.00 per 1000fbm and a low Canadian dollar,. Canadian companies are making a fortune.

If we don’t get a softwood lumber agreement with the USA and we lose out on the Chinese market to the Russians. Then the next few years could be a disaster.

    Wait till the annual allowable cut for the PG region will come out. By all previous projections we will not have enough to sell at the level of previous decades.

    The USA could, if it wanted to be, completely self-sufficient in softwood lumber. This won’t likely happen because it would mean taking on some very well funded ‘environmental protection’ groups who, along with their big city ‘wilderness preservation’ counterparts do not want any logging in US National Forests and on any other lands they can manage to lock-up. So the Americans are going to have to import at least the amount of softwood lumber they’re generally short of, if new home building is going to continue to be the main means of introducing needed new credit into their economy. That’s less than we’re currently sending them, but still a substantial amount of lumber.

    I don’t believe there’s going to be much incentive on the part of the Americans to renew the Softwood Lumber Agreement unless they can get the terms they want completely. Already coastal BC mills who have to source their logs on an open market, often in competition for those logs with raw log exporters, are distancing themselves from the Interior mills. Who they, like the Americans, believe are ‘subsidised’ by the government with lower cost timber to try to maintain jobs. Get ready for a major wash out of sawmills in the Interior, it’s coming. The ones that survive will employ a fraction of the number employed now, and that’s continually shrinking as it is.

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