As we sit here in the middle of February after what has been called the worst down turn in a generation, the question on everyones mind is "what's really happening for 2017". In order to give some answers to that, I have to clear a few misconceptions around my answers first.
1- I am not a medium, fortune teller or psychic
2-I am as invested in your home or business and our market as you are.
Okay, now that we got those pesky disclosures out of the way .. here is what I foresee happening over the next ten months; thats right, scary thought but it is only ten months until we welcome 2018 as we just did 2017. In order to foresee what is in store for our market, I often look to the past. Not that the past will tell you your future, but it will show you the cycle period we are in. I for one am grateful 2016 is behind us, it brought one of the toughest business and Real Estate markets we have seen in decades, but is that all it brought? I would like to think that it brought so much more. Yes homes were selling for tens of thouands less than the prior year (some as much as $70,000 less), some local businesses did not make it through the tough times we as northerns experienced together, but what are the benefits going ahead? Let's lay them out ...
In 2015 I did an interview on housing in FSJ with Energetic City, in that interview I was quoted as saying 2016 will be an amzing time for buyers. Looking back at some of the sale prices of 2016, I was correct and some great deals were had. Now, as I mentioned we sit in the middle of February and realize this to will come to an end, this year. The first part of 2017 will offer discounted prices on a per month style supply and demand. Currently we have approx 10 months of housing supply on the market. This means based on average buying patterns we are seeing, without any new activity, announcements, jobs or changes .. we can last 8 months before we run out of homes available. If 2016 showed us anything, it is that a lot of buyers held off to find the "bottom of the market", or to secure brighter times ahead. I expect a lot of first time home buyers to arrive early in the season this year looking for those deals they heard about in 2016. I expect 2015 levels of corporate transfers in the late spring and summer. Both of these factors will shorten our housing supply by two full months. The rumours of the fall that people were leaving FSJ in droves was proven false last week when the official Cencus records showed Fort St John grew last year in population... so in the worst economy in a generation, the city grew in population, does this give some hints to the following couple years to come?
Mark my words, this has the making for the perfect storm as we lived though in 2003-2008 and 2010-2015. With more people moving to the community than housing was available at any season. Builders did not even have the jump start they needed in order to try and get started, let alone any means of playing catch up. We very well may find ourselves in a housing shortage by 2018. If the past has taught us anything about housing shortages, its that prices can be affected as much as 16% in a single year. So what does this mean for buyers and sellers broken down in simple math:
2015- Market increase +/- up 4%
2016- Market decrease +/- down 6%
2017- Market increase +/- up 3%
2018- Market increase +/- up 9%
2019- Market increase +/- up 14%
I will leave you with one thought on all of this, which if you have ever asked me my opinion on the market, you have heard this before .. It never matters when you buy, only when you sell. #youhearditherefirst