When Trail’s economy contracted in the 1980s it crushed the housing market, and it has taken several decades for the industry to recover, said Richard Daoust.
The owner of Century 21 Kootenay Homes Inc. said around the time he entered the real estate industry as an agent, in 1987, Teck Cominco was in the process of a massive upgrading of its systems, lowering their workforce from 6,000 to around 1,600.
The demand for homes was down as people lost their jobs, and new construction was flat, he said, with nothing happening in that area in earnest until around six years ago.
When the price of the average home and new home construction starts began to climb six years ago as the local economy improved, the rise was thwarted as fallout of the worldwide economic downturn sunk in, plunging prices south once again.
“Getting into fall most of the home sale prices are realistic in what seems to be the new prices for the market,” said Daoust. “They definitely fell that 15 to 20 per cent, depending on price range, where now they are stabilizing.”
Signs of an upswing are apparent. Daoust said a Bank of Montreal official noted last week they were seeing more housing movement in Trail than Castlegar in the last few months — a trend tied to the new job markets opening up in Trail at Teck and Waneta.
“This is a reflection of seeing a confidence in the market; it remains to be seen if it holds,” he said.