Uptick in real estate listings in Yellowknife this year so far
Real estate agents divided on whether Snap Lake mine closure is playing a part
For more than 15 years it's been a sellers' market when it comes to real estate in the Northwest Territories capital, but there's been an upswing in listings in the last few months.
Since Jan. 1, according to Century 21 Prospect Realty, there have been 45 new listings in Yellowknife, compared to 20 in the first two months of last year.
"There is a sense that there will be more action in the market, more listings coming onto the market this year, because of some of the news that we've heard in terms of the diamond mines and the executives being moved to Calgary and the closure of Snap Lake," said Adrian Bell, agent of record for Century 21 in Yellowknife.
Bell said people are anticipating a slowdown in the economy this year and that it's logical for people who are considering selling to get their listings up earlier compared to previous years, before too many homes are on the market.
But his competitors disagree. Rod Stirling, co-owner of Yellowknife's Coldwell Banker, has been in the real estate industry for 32 years. He said that nobody directly affected by the Snap Lake Mine closure has listed a home so far this year.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation once again began insuring mortgages on the more than 200 homes in the Northlands Trailer Park neighbourhood earlier this year after an almost six-year hiatus while the park's water and sewer infrastructure problems were dealt with.
But Stirling said Northlands is not a significant factor in the current market situation, either. He said he has only seen two or three listings from the neighbourhood since CMHC started insuring mortgages there again.
"Because we've had such a warm winter, I think that leads to people doing things that may be a bit earlier in the season than they normally would," he said.
"We have definitely noticed an influx of listings. But also, if it was just listings and a lot of people had their properties up for sale and they weren't selling, that's a concern. But there's certainly sales activity, too."
But according to Sam Gamble, the buyers are laying low. He runs the private equity real estate company, Cloudworks. He buys properties, fixes them up and sells them.
"For our projects, sales haven't been as fast as we'd like," he said.
"We put stuff on in January when really nobody is shopping for houses kind of historically. I think after March Break, kind of March, April will tell the tale of what's going on in the real estate market."
Stirling said the last time there was a buyers' market in Yellowknife was the late 1990s. Since then it's been nearly two decades of a steady increasing prices and for the first time in 20 years the pendulum is swinging.
"It's swung a little bit more with the supply right now, where it's a little bit more of a balanced market," he said.
with files from Marc Winkler