There seems to be a lot more “Sold” signs stamped on listings in the Trail area this year.
So the Trail Times asked local realtors about the state of property sales in the Lower Columbia, and by all accounts, the news is good – more homes have been selling, some even drawing new people to town.
“This year has been busier for real estate sales, starting in approximately February,” says Deanne Slessor from Century 21 Kootenay Homes. “Most of B.C. is seeing more action and Trail usually follows behind the trend a little.
“Our market is not as volatile as many, which is nice as it’s less risky as a buyer or seller.”
Keith Dewitt from Re/Max All Pro Realty says there is much more balance between buyers and sellers this year, which has led to increased demand.
He notes a 21 per cent increase in sales from Rossland to Fruitvale to date over this time last year, and a 33 per cent increase over the three-year average for the same time period.
“The amount of sales in 2016 is higher, but the amount of listings is lower,” Dewitt explained. “Better quality homes are selling in all price ranges. People have spent the past five or six years doing upgrades and renovations to their home – and now the quality of the product selling is higher, in my opinion.”
The most popular areas are family-oriented neighbourhoods, and homes that are already renovated.
“Homes that have been upgraded are selling the quickest and for the highest value, as a lot of buyers do not want to renovate,” Slessor said. “Now is an excellent time to buy with interest rates so low and prices are stable.”
She noted another trend commonly seen in the larger cities, not so often in Trail – more than one bid on a property and not always from a local source.
“This year we have seen more multiple offer situations than in the previous several years,” she added. “(And) there have been more buyers from Alberta and also some from the coast. They are migrating back here for the cost of living and quality of life. Southern B.C. is the most beautiful and best place to live in Canada!”
While the majority of sales are still to local buyers, Dewitt says the market is attracting interest and buyers from the Okanagan, the Lower Mainland and the rest of the West Kootenay.
“We still have low interest rates and reasonable prices in our area,” he said. “We now have a shortage of listings in our area going into the fall and winter.”
Although a variety of homes are selling from Rossland to Fruitvale, the majority sold are between $150,000 to $200,000, says Thea Hansen, realtor for Re/Max All Pro Realty.
“As a whole the units sold are up over last year,” she explained, noting inventory is presently at a low. “We have 15 per cent less homes available this year compared to last, which means it’s not a buyer’s market, but more of a seller’s market – it’s a matter of supply and demand.”
That said, the homes that are selling are priced accurately for the value, she added.
“The majority (buyer) is local, upsizing and downsizing,” Hansen said. “But we are starting to see people from the Lower Mainland, Okanagan and Alberta coming this way … simply for the affordability and lifestyle. People are just passionate about the Kootenays.”