The positive LNG announcement has nearly swept Kitimat’s housing market clear of any available property, days after news broke.
At the end of September, there were 94 properties of all types available, according to the latest quarterly report from the BC Northern Real Estate Board.
According to Terrace/Kitimat REMAX managing broker Sheila Love, since the confirmation of the $40 billion project Oct. 2, the housing market in the area has changed drastically,
“The inventory in Kitimat is probably down to no more than three or four homes on the market right now, if that,” said Love, adding that a similar rush for property happened during Rio Tinto Alcan’s expansion in 2011.
“This is nothing compared to what realtors are seeing now,” said Love.
The sales-to-active ratio, or the rate at which properties are selling, stayed at 18 per cent from this time last year in Kitimat with a few fluctuations. But with almost no listings left on the market, Love forecasts the percentage will skyrocket to 80 per cent come November.
“Realtors in Kitimat are just run off their feet. They’re getting calls from all over from people wanting to submit offers and invest in this area. Now Terrace is getting the overflow because there’s a lack of inventory in Kitimat,” Love said.
“Because of speculation the housing market is going to increase in Terrace. It’s crazy times here.”
At the end of September realtors in Kitimat had sold 137 properties worth $33 million, compared to 73 properties worth $15.6 million sold in the same period in 2017.
The lack of inventory in Kitimat and rising demand for property has presented itself to some as an opportunity to hike prices within the first week following the announcement.
Love said some property owners have made incremental increases in their asking prices, while others have doubled theirs.
The market for a ready-to-move-in single-family home is estimated to be around $320,000.
“People are wanting to get into the area. When LNG is finished, even though the workers are going to be flown in and flown out, it still brings a lot of industry to the area to service the LNG plant,” Love said.
“It’s still affordable to live up here but a lot of people are going to get a great return on their homes. It’s a good time to be a seller right now.”