There is a surplus of houses on the market but not a lot of people buying homes in Grande Prairie. Vice President of the Grande Prairie and Area Association of Realtors Curtis Burbee explains that right now the Swan City is in a buyer’s market and will be for some time but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“Whenever [the housing market] goes down, it is always going to come up. Typically, the down periods last two to three years and the up periods last two to three years with a little bit of neutral period in between. I don’t expect anything to be different this time but of course, no one can predict that with 100 per cent certainty.”
When referring to history of the housing market in the city, he says that 2009 was slower and 2014 was the peak in that cycle. He says history does repeat itself and 2016 should look a lot like 2009.
Based on history and his experience in the market, his prediction is a slow recovery for 2018 and a ramp up in the market in 2019 or 2020.
Some of the challenges he sees in Grande Prairie is taxes, the economy and secondary suites.
“The city has changed some bylaws. It is for the good and they are going to make our city cleaner especially with snow removal and things. It is going to affect some people and they need to be aware of the changes. People who are going in to buying new homes that may have suites, they need to be checking it out.”
He adds that home owners need to make sure that the suite is what they want and that it won’t have to be taken down in the future.
In personal experience with selling homes, Burbee explains that he has had home buyers target homes in the County due to lower tax rates.
There has been 25 housing starts in Grande Prairie in 2016.