Region in midst of real estate boom

Good times in the real estate industry are occurring, agree the owners of both companies in High Prairie. The good times are expected to occur into 2018.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

One of the biggest booms in residential real estate in a decade hit the High Prairie area in 2017 and the trend is predicted to continue.

A total of 46 residential properties were sold in the town of High Prairie by realtors who serve the region, state figures provided by Gord Olson, realtor-owner with Century 21 Sunnyside Realty.

“That’s one of the highest numbers in about 10 years,” says Olson, who predicted a boom one year ago after Tolko announced plans to re-open the High Prairie OSB mill that closed in 2008.

Previously, 28 homes were sold in 2016.

He adds 10 residential properties were sold in the Big Lakes County area.

The re-opening of Tolko and the confidence in the community and the market has been a huge driving force to boost real estate, he says.

“People are anticipating more economic activity in the region,” Olson says.

“Tolko is what is creating the confidence and there are more jobs in the community.

“You can’t underestimate what that is doing for the community.”

A modernization of High Prairie Forest Products is another big boost to the economic growth and confidence.

The upward trend is expected to continue.

“For 2018, I predict a pretty solid year equal to, if not better than 2017,” Olson says.

“We are seeing a lot more people moving to the community, mostly renting, but hopefully buying in the future.”

Prices are also starting to rise in the town.

“We have definitely seen an upward trend in housing prices, but not a significant amount, yet,” Olson says.

“It’s correlating with the number of sales, it’s a balanced market.”

Royal LePage PVR Realty broker-owner Debbie Nelson also predicts another year of brisk sales.

“I believe we are seeing a trend towards a sellers’ market which will evolve slowly with some highs and lows, but all in all, a great outlook for the 2018 market,” Nelson says.

“The many new developments in the area, such as reopening of Tolko, opening of the new hospital and many other developments still in the early stages have all made an impact on the future economic outlook.”

Diversity in the economy has also given the local area an edge.

“Economic conditions definitely had an impact on the market, but because High Prairie is a diversified market and not totally reliant on the oil industry, we were not affected as much as other northern communities by the economic downturn and seemed to continue on with a stable market,” Nelson says.

“For the first part of 2018, we have seen a considerable increase in market activity and although prices have not seen a substantial increase, we have still noticed a slight incline in prices.”

New growth has also spurred on new development in housing.

Ray Stern Homes of Slave Lake is building four new homes for Tolko, Stern confirms.

They are located in Cornerstone Estates at the north end of 50 Street by E.W. Pratt School.

Housing construction was also busy in the region. Building permits for residential units in the Town of High Prairie totaled $1,773,400 for eight permits in 2107, including four single family units at $387,600 each, one at $130,000, two added suites at $35,000 and $28,000 and one double-wide mobile home at $30,000.

Building permits for residential units in Big Lakes County totaled $7,207,509 for 31 single-family units, which includes manufactured homes.

2017 Real Estate Stats

Housing Sales in High Prairie:

Under $100,000 4
$100,000 – $199,999 15
$200,000 – $299,999 20
$300,000 – $399,999 7

2017 Residential Sales in Big Lakes County

$200,000 – $299,999 4
$300,000 – $399,999 3
Over $400,000 3


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