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October 28, 2017 4:02 am

Housing Demand Strong Everywhere Except Northern B.C.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 @ 3:42 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Northern B.C. is expected to buck the trend when it comes to housing demand this year.

This according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association’s (BCREA) Second Quarter Housing Forecast.

“Across the province, nine of B.C.’s 11 real estate board areas are forecast to experience increased housing demand this year,” says chief economist Cameron Muir. “Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are forecast to lead the province with a 16 to 17 percent increase in residential sales, while Northern BC, the board with the largest geographic area, is expected to experience some retrenchment this year before returning on a growth path in 2016.”

He expects demand to fall by close to 7% to 4,200 units this year in the North which he attributes to “fallout from depressed oil prices and slower than anticipated investment in commodity exploration and transmission infrastructure.”

Muir adds “delays in proposed LNG plants and contingent pipelines are also pushing some purchase decisions to the back burner.”

However he also foresees a rebound in 2016 noting “a more robust US economy and a competitive exchange rate are leading to rising BC exports and providing a much needed boost to tourism.

This, combined with more pronounced investment activity in 2016, is expected to push home sales up more than 10 percent to 4,625 units next year.”

Muir says the average price of a home “is expected to edge up 2.6 percent to $269,000 this year, and a further 2.2 percent to $275,000 in 2016,” though he notes prices vary greatly throughout the region.

“It’s such a large geographic area, comprised of many different and disparate markets, it’s very hard to pin the average price on any particular area in the North.”


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Housing Demand Strong Everywhere Except Northern B.C.??

With the baby boomer population breathing strong into retirement, Housing demands and needs are strong all over the province including Prince George…. for accessible and visitable housing. It is extremely difficult to find accessible accommodation… so when accessible homes come on the market they are sold very quickly.

Official Community plans should incorporate more accessible or visitable homes in all new and renovated buildings and developments. This will help sustain our aging population to age in place in Prince George.

good thing dick doesn’t have any skin in the game in northern bc . He must be smarter than Bob .

“Official Community Plans” should be trashed. They are a complete waste of time and money that have failed everywhere they’ve been tried. We’ve seen innumerable revisions to the one in our area, and all it takes for that to happen is some developer or large company (generally from outside the area) with far deeper pockets than any of the locals have to make it happen. As a result we have a Wal-Mart on land originally zoned ‘light industrial’ that never attracted any industry, and then an increased tax bill on lands that are still zoned light industrial, because there’s now supposed to be a shortage of such lands! A SuperStore reposes on a piece of prime agricultural property, (which Loblaws had enough payola to get removed from the ALR, as well as zoned the way they wanted), but somebody with some acres still classed as farmland, but so poor soiled and rocky even a pot crop wouldn’t take on it, is stuck with land useless for agriculture unless he’s got enough moolah to get it removed. Throw the damned things out. They’ve never worked and they never will. All they do is make everything more expensive than it already is.

OCPs do not distinguish whether a single or multiple dwelling unit is accessible or not. Developers and rental property owners determine whether they build or convert residential units as single story or multiple storeys with elevators.

For instance, we have an abundance of older 3 storey walk-up apartment buildings scattered all over suburbia many with lower suits half a floor below grade making even that level inaccessible.

If there were enough demand as seen by those who want to sell or rent housing units, one would see new buildings with accessible features being built and existing ones being converted. I do not think we are seeing that. The demand is not there.

A city cannot zone for such a demand. I do not see it as an OCP or zoning issue. It is a market issue.

“A SuperStore reposes on a piece of prime agricultural property”. Mainly because the ALR is a joke.

What exactly do you propose to grow or raise on that prime agricultural property?

there is demand for wheelchair homes but no one will build them. my borther needed one and couldnt find anything. had to settle for something not accessible because thats all that was available in his price. besides with our aging population we will see more people needing this but the time to build is now not when the boomers realize they need it.

Well said SS71
a lot of times a business or rental or hotel sees someone grinding their way, through a doorway and do not think past oh… they can get in… and think no further. There are many codes in place that are not enforced so accessibility looks like it is ok when it is not

I agree with you. I am just saying the OCP is not the tool.

Our housing stock over the last 40 years has not included single story, on grade entry houses. They are much more common in the USA. To find such houses in PG one has to go to older stock.

Most such houses are retrofitted to suit the needs of those in wheelchairs. Even their needs vary. Exterior ramp accesses, typically built of wood, are not uncommon in older subdivisions. After that one may need to retrofit the inside as well – wider doors, especially to bathrooms; bathroom retrofitting for those which are even squeezed for non-wheelchair users, vanity sink adjustments, kitchen counter adjustment, special fixtures, thermostat relocation to lower level access to window operators, and more depending on particular individual needs.

I think there are too many variables to build such places, and we have not addressed location in the city, price ranges, dwelling unit size and similar considerations yet.

The easiest way, of course, would be to build virtually all housing to accommodate those in wheelchairs. That would make for a more comfortable housing unit in either case and would not add a single $ to the initial cost of building.

Building houses in which one faces stairs immediately on entry to get to the first living level is almost a cultural thing in Canada. That is not the case in many other countries.

Every new sub division or home could be made a minimum of “Visitable Housing” easily with very little to no cost.


I would love to see the spruce kings and other show home lottery homes step up and set an example by design and building universally designed show homes so that anyone, including seniors or someone that uses a mobility aid could buy a ticket and make the choice to move in or sell it. Everyone is not able to even get in and see what these home look like.


Good morning to all my friends in George. It’s a wet rainy day here in Abby this am but should change by the weekend.

I know I’ll get some smart as**ed remarks but I have to wade into this great topic on the slow housing movement in PG and its not th OCP of today. It was 50 years ago so you’re a bit slow on PG stats.

In the mid 60’s when the City allowed three pulp mill and a refinery into the bowl area they blew it.. These industries should of been built out of the City say like the airport area. It brought a lot of revenue instantly to a small city and now its paying the price of misfortune.

Today the taxation structure is completing the bad management of the 60’s. Industry pays 17%, The commercial sector 25% and the home owner 53% . When industry should be paying higher taxes those that will make the city grow pay the higher amounts. The present tax structure is depressing the commercial section that needs to grow.

Prince George is not the distribution centre it used to be. Air freight flies to many of the surrounding cities were as trucking is slow and expensive.

I was working in the West Kooteny when I retired moved back to PG as our family and grand kids still lived there .They are all gone now and so are we and so the seniors are moving from the cold and long winters and taking their savings with them. We live in a 118 unit ranch style town home . The owner passed away before we could buy into the complex.

One of the problems is the tax payers have to look at reality instead of dreams of what could be.

Good comment Retired2, its nice having someone with an outside perspective providing commentary on important issues facing this city and region, particularly when that someone is familiar and knowledgeable about this area. Ignore the many Prince George centric, us verse you, or Prince George verse Abbotsford attack comments that target you.

IMO you are right; the City’s OCP has nothing to do with depressed housing demand in northern BC, and the reasons you stated on why Prince George may not be a desirable place to live, I believe are valid reasons.

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