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Powell River real estate market holding steady

It’s cheaper to buy a house now in Powell River than it was a year ago.

The median monthly selling price for a single-family home in the city last month was $352,500.

In February 2019, it was $380,000.

But that hasn’t spurred real estate sales in the city.

Powell River/Sunshine Coast Real Estate Board president, Neil Frost, said February was a quieter month but not far off from last year’s sales.

“We had 14 single-family homes sold this February compared to 17 last year,” he said. “That’s mostly single-family homes with a mobile home and I think one condo or townhouse thrown in there.”

On a brighter note, Frost said three vacant lots changed hands last month which is usually an indicator of a fairly robust market.

“You don’t have many raw land sales when things are down,” he said.

Looking ahead, Frost said predicted changes to the benchmark rate used in stress tests for mortgages “certainly won’t hurt” sales.

“It would be nice if it was completely repealed but I think there’s going to be some relaxation from what I’ve read,” he said. “But I don’t see it having a huge impact. The overall lower interest rates that have just been announced will have a greater drive in stimulating new mortgages and new purchases.”

A big driver in Powel River’s real estate scene is people migrating to the city to live, Frost said.

“For the past several years, about 50 per cent of our buyers have been (from) out of town. What we’ve seen in the last couple of years, is more of them are actually moving here and not just investing,” he added.

“There is a bit of migration from the Lower Mainland and then in Squamish and other areas, a little bit from the island, a little bit from outside of B.C. but mostly from the Lower Mainland area,” Frost said.

He said affordability and quality of life is the reason why people are moving to Powell River. 

Frost said all indicators point toward a strong spring market.

“We started to see new listings come on, sales have started to pick up a little bit, here, we’re still seeing competing bids and new listings selling quite quickly if they’re priced well,” he added.

The x-factor is the developing coronavirus situation. Frost said time will tell how it will impact the local real estate market.

“There is a little bit of uncertainty with the world economic and health situation that sometimes throws a little bit of shade into the mix, so we’re going to have to see how that is going to play out, but right up to that we’re looking at a strong spring, and nothing has changed on the ground, yet, in Powell River,” he said.

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