Property values in Fort St. John may be going up, but they are behind the rest of the Peace Region, according the 2013 numbers released by B.C. Assessment.
The average increase in the city is only 6.9 per cent, less than the 7.7 per cent rise across the region and significantly less than the 13.8 per cent increase in Taylor property values.
“You may be seeing some people choosing Taylor or trying to get more for their money,” said Michael Spatharakis, deputy assessor for the Peace River region.
“Because Pouce and Taylor both have much smaller size there are less properties available for sale and that will tend to push the values up if the demands strong.”
The biggest spike was seen in Tumbler Ridge properties, which went up in value an average of 19.5 per cent, and was followed by Pouce Coupe, where properties increase by 15.6 per cent over all.
“The biggest thing I’ve always told people is look around at other comparable cities,” said Trevor Bolin, owner of Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Chetwynd Remax offices.
“Prince George – only four hours south from us (and) not having the robust real estate market that we do. We really need to be proud of what Fort St. John has to offer.”
The average increase in that city ranged from 0.3 per cent to 4.26 per cent, excluding the VLA subdivision.
Spatharakis said that the real estate market is the Peace Region as a whole is particularly robust because of the resource sector’s need for skilled workers.
“I think in this region, increases are primarily driven by all the resource based activity like the oil and gas and the mining pressures,” he said.
“In certain cities and towns, there’s a limited supply of newly constructed, or even just housing, for workers that are moving into town in the area. As more people move into the area for work, it’s pushing up the demand in prices for the houses.”
He also said that new construction projects could also be contributing to the increased property values.
However, the municipality in the area with the lowest increase was Dawson Creek, where there was only a 3.9 per cent average uptick in property values.
However, Dawson Creek realtor Kevin Kurjata explained that the numbers in his city have to be looked at across a larger time frame to see the market trends.
“If you look at 2010 compared to 2012, we’re up 10.7 per cent,” said the Remax agent.
“(In) the last two years, we’re up 10.7 per cent but it kind of plateaued in 2011, we’re only up 2.6 per cent in that time frame – so the big push was between 2010 and 2011.”
Kurjata expects that in 2013, the prices will continue to increase at a steady pace as they have for the last couple years.
“[It] tends to be three to four per cent annually,” he explained.