COVID-19 takes bite out of Quesnel property sales: Board

Property sales in the region are down over $10 million in 2020

It appears COVID-19 is hurting real estate sales in the Cariboo region.

According to a BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) news release, sales are down 30 per cent across the area it serves.

In the first half of 2020, realtors sold 141 properties, worth just over $30 million. Last year over 150 properties were sold in the same time frame, for over $42 million.

William Lacy, a past president of the BCNREB, was surprised to see lower numbers.

“From the realtors I’ve talked to in town, we are just absolutely so slammed busy, that I didn’t think that would be the case at all,” he said. “I thought prices would consistently be going up and we would be quite further along than we are — I guess it varies realtor to realtor.”

There are even bigger downturns in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

Nearly 100 fewer properties were sold in 2020 compared to 2019 in Williams Lake, as only 150 were sold for $42 million. In 100 Mile House, the past six months saw 174 properties sold for $46 million, compared to 207 properties and $52 million worth of sales in the first half of 2019.

Shawna Kinsley, the current BCNREB president said sales this low have not been seen since January 1988.

“Despite the region’s struggling forestry, and mining and oil sectors, the decline in the second quarter was primarily due to the state of emergency declared by the province that implemented physical-distancing measures,” she said in the release. “This halted real estate activity across the province, which is highly reliant on in-person interactions.”

READ MORE: COVID-19: Northern real estate board ‘strongly recommends’ no more open houses

She added significant job losses and large project cancellations also played a role.

Despite the downturn, Lacy is confident sales will continue to increase.

“I think that the northern areas are going to see a strong, steady influx of people from the Lower Mainland, because of COVID-19 as well,” he said. “This could push them over the edge, into that northern lifestyle and away from people — that’s the new norm.”

The release also projects a rise of 2.3 per cent in prices in 2020.

READ MORE: B.C.’s real estate market shows ‘encouraging signs of recovery’ in May: association

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