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Is Vancouver's housing market sending buyers to the Peace Region? Three realtors say no way

If Vancouver's overheated real estate market is leading house-hunting city dwellers north, local realtors aren't seeing any sign of them. In the B.C.
real estate

If Vancouver's overheated real estate market is leading house-hunting city dwellers north, local realtors aren't seeing any sign of them.

In the B.C. legislature earlier this week, Premier Christy Clark was taken to task for suggesting people unable to afford a home in Metro Vancouver move to a less expensive city.

Spencer Chandra Herbert, NDP MLA for Vancouver-West End, said the government has no plan to rein in ballooning house prices, which are being driven up in part by foreign investment.

"What does the Premier say? She says 'well, you can move to Fort St. John. You can move to the north,'" said Chandra Herbert, referring to comments Clark made to CTV in January. "Those are not solutions. Those are sidestepping."

Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness doubled down, saying "no one has a God-given right to live in a particular place."

But Trevor Bolin, a Fort St. John city councillor and agent with RE/MAX Action Realty, said the Energetic City isn't seeing any spillover from the Lower Mainland.

"Honestly, from a logistical standpoint it makes sense: you can't enter a housing market such as Vancouver, you look at where you can," he told the Alaska Highway News. "But you're sitting in Vancouver where it's probably 10 C today and it's -17 C with the wind here. I think it would take a lot more than housing to convince people to leave that area and come up here, which is unfortunate."

"Absolutely not," said Dawson Creek realtor Al Mottishaw, when asked if Vancouver real estate was having any impact on Dawson Creek. "If anywhere, it might spill over into the Okanagan."

Kevin Kurjata, with Dawson Creek's Century 21 Energy Realty, agreed.

Kurjata was born in Dawson Creek, lived in Vancouver, and moved home for work. He said the cost of housing had little to do with that decision.

"Most of the people I know in Vancouver that want to get into the housing market can get into it, they just buy a tiny condo," he said.

"When people in Vancouver think about leaving Vancouver, they think Langley, or maybe as far as Kelowna," he said with a laugh. "But they're not coming up here, unless they're adventurous."

According to figures released earlier this year by BC Assessment, an average home in Fort St. John costs around $405,000, compared to $3.1 million on Vancouver's west side and $1.31 million in East Vancouver.

Dawson Creek homes go for around $260,000, while the Canadian average sits at $470,297.

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