Nfld. & Labrador

Corner Brook housing market taking a tumble

A new report says housing sales in Corner Brook are down by 28 per cent this year from 2012.

Sale down almost 30 per cent this year

Housing prices have plummeted by 28 per cent this year. (CBC)

A new report says housing sales in Corner Brook are down by 28 per cent this year compared to 2012.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation doesn't usually give out statistics for that region. However, when Corner Brook-based real estate agent Ken Brown requested the data, it delivered.

The findings don't paint a good picture for realtors in the western Newfoundland city.

"What we do feel here in Corner Brook, we, as real estate agents, people who are involved in the industry, we actually saw what was happening, and as you see there the data shows sales in Corner Brook have decreased almost 30 per cent in the year to date," Brown told CBC News.

In addition to the recent tightening of mortgage rules by the federal government, local factors are having an impact too.

Brown, who is also the western director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Realtors Association, said instability at the mill and a delay in the construction of the Corner Brook hospital are playing a part in the cooling of the market.

"Uncertainty plays a big part in the markets, certainly, when we don't know what's going to happen with the mill and we don't know what's going to happen with the hospital," Brown said.

Brown said he sees many for-sale signs in the city — many of which bear stickers indicating a reduced price. 

Ups and downs

"It shows that the market in past years have been inflated, certainly it does reflect what's happening here economically, in the economy itself," Brown said.

"Corner Brook's economy has been stable but there have been ups and downs."

Another worrying trend on Brown's radar is homes for sale by owner.

"There's been a proliferation in recent years of for sale by owner properties. A lot of properties are out there now, sitting there, over priced or under priced because of that," he said.

"Certainly a lot of those properties do sell, but overall when you see that type of statistic of a 30 per cent decrease, it's scary for us in this industry," Brown said.

Brown predicts if this current trend persists, prices will continue to drop.

With files from Jeremy Eaton