Property values in Dawson Creek may be going up, but they are lagging behind the rest of the Peace Region, according the 2013 numbers released by B.C. Assessment.
The average increase in the city is only 3.9 per cent, which is a little more than half of the 7.7 per cent rise across the region and significantly less than the 15.6 per cent increase in Pouce Coupe property values.
“There’s probably been some pressure from people choosing Pouce over Dawson for the lower Prices,” said Michael Spatharakis, deputy assessor for the Peace River region.
“My feeling is that one’s more related to people moving outside of Dawson Creek and going there because they’re getting more for their money (with the) lower average property value by quite a bit as a percentage.”
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 and Taylor, where the assessments increased by 13.8 per cent over all.
“Most homeowners will see changes in the range of 0 to 15 per cent,” said Michael Spatharakis, deputy assessor for the Peace River region.
Local realtor Kevin Kurjata explained that the numbers in Dawson Creek 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.
While Fort St. John is seeing a more robust increase, with an average of 6.9 per cent, it is also less than the regional average.
“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.