The BC Real Estate Association unveiled its fourth-quarter housing forecast today (Wednesday) where unit sales are down nearly four per cent in Northern BC this year, compared to an 11% drop across the rest of the province.

BC Real Estate Association Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. (Photo supplied by BCREA)

Chief Economist, Brendon Ogmundson told Vista Radio there are several factors at play for the downturn here in the north.

“The north has had some specific economic troubles especially in the forestry sector and that’s really I think slowed demand. We’re expecting sales to finish down about 2.4% this year but we do expect a seven percent pickup in 2020.”

According to the BCREA, the northern economy is expected to be the epicentre of investment activity in the province next year.

“The big one is the construction of the 36 billion dollar LNG Canada project in Kitimat, there’s just going to be a lot of money invested in the north and that means a lot of jobs in the next few years and that’s going to help a lot of the areas.”

Other major projects include the $4.8 billion dollar Coastal GasLink pipeline.

He adds Prince George’s housing starts have slowed considerably in 2019, but expects that trend to reverse next year.

“The north needs new construction. In general, as we see demand recover that should really push developers to start investing in the north and we’re expecting about a 12% increase in housing starts next year and hopefully that alleviates some of the supply issues.”

“The real issue is a lack of supply but there’s really quite a bit of supply under construction in Prince George, I think we’re pretty close to a 10 or 15-year record on units under construction and that should help us get some supply into the market.”

To read the full report click here.