Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead, Tuesday, January 12, 2009

The city slashes some budget items, holds the line on others, reviewing last weeks real estate numbers and getting ready for a night of music, some of the items of note from Tuesday's news findings.

Daily News, front page story
LOCAL REAL ESTATE SALES MADE A COMEBACK IN LATE 2009 -- Tales of a "disaster" avoided highlight the Daily News interpretation of last weeks Real Estate numbers. As we outlined on the blog last Thursday morning, the Northern BC Real Estate Board provided the breakdown on real estate transactions for 2009, the Daily sought out local realtor Victor Prystay to provide the Prince Rupert real estate industry perspective on the numbers.

It will be Music night in Rupert on January 16th as the North Coast Performers Society offers up an original song night at the Tom Rooney Playhouse on Third Avenue West. Five unique acts will provide the nights entertainment ranging from rock to folk to blues and more. Show time is set for 8 pm.

Nathan Cullen's plans for a forum on the Enbridge pipeline get another review as the Daily provides its background on the plans of the Skeena Bulkley Valley MP first outlined last week. Its a plan that CFTK TV 7 News first alerted us to back on December 23rd, dates, times and participants in the forums have yet to be announced.

The Sports section features a look at a packed schedule of high school basketball as Prince Rupert's two high schools participated in a number of events both in and out of town.

(Archive for Daily News Articles for January 12, 2010 )

Northern View
City of Prince Rupert cuts grant to library by $15,000, speaks of more cuts to come -- The Northern View provides us with our first glimpse of some of the decisions made by Prince Rupert City council regarding the budget for 2010. Included among their decisions from Monday night were a reduction in funding for the library and golf course,with status quo funding to remain in place for the Lester Centre of the Arts and the Prince Rupert Port Edward Economic Development Office. (see article here)

Northern View
Where will the tourism industry lead us in the new year -- A look at what may be ahead for the 2010 tourism season on the North coast. (see article here)

Northern View
Over 280 calls for service since the start of the new year -- The RCMP detachments new crime prevention officer makes her introductions and offers up some information on files that the RCMP have been working on over the last few weeks (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
No new items were posted on the CFTK news website for Tuesday

CBC News Northern British Columbia, Daybreak North
The CBC apparently misses their target date of providing on line content on the Daybreak site, the notice that they return on January 12th is still in place, but the updated content isn't.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
Local real estate sales made a comeback in late 2009
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It could have been worse. It could have been better. But 2009 will be remembered on the local real estate market as the year they missed a big disaster.

Real estate agents around Prince Rupert were expecting a difficult 2009 and in some ways that is exactly how the year played out. But final MLS numbers released last week point to a much slower decline than expected.

According to MLS statistics, 191 properties changed hands in 2009 down from 252 from the year before. And half the single-family home properties that did sell were sold for less than $75,000.

“The biggest part of 2009 is that we had an extremely poor first quarter,” said BC Northern Real Estate Board director Victor Prystay. “But by about April or May it started to rally a bit and has been reasonably steady throughout the year.”

Prystay had hoped at this time last year that 2009 would outpace 2008. It failed to do so even with mortgage lending rates at a strong low for homebuyers.

“The significant thing from my point of view is that our inventory is down significantly. There isn’t a lot of product right now,” said Prystay. “There is a perception right now that no one is buying so there is no point in listing. And as you can see from the statistics, with half the homes selling for less than $75,000, it is pretty much a buyer’s market.”

One particular street, Gull Crescent, had five For Sale signs within 30 seconds walking distance from each other, suggesting a change in demographics for the middle-class neighbourhood near Charles Hayes Secondary School.

Two home sellers, who wished to remain anonymous because their homes were closing sales, told the Daily News that Prince Rupert’s real estate market is continuing to flux in the turbulent post-recession era.

“We have sold our home and I would guess it went for 20 per cent less than the pre-container terminal speculation days,” said one homeowner who is upgrading from his current residence to a new one.

The other homeowner said he was leaving town permanently for family reasons but felt that the economy in Prince Rupert was about to pick up.

There is still a sense out there from home owners that the local economy will pick up and that brighter days ahead should encourage people to buy a home while the interest rates on mortgage rates hover below the four per cent mark.

Prystay believes home sales are as much a science of perceptions as they are finances.
If the market looks cold, shoppers will take their time. If it appears hot, shoppers will be more amenable to compromising.

“Buying a house is the single biggest compromise anyone ever makes,” said Prystay. “What happens is - you take people out to look at a home and they think a particular home could be pretty close, but they think they can keep looking because they can always come back to that particular house. At another market, when things are perceived to be moving, buyers will say

‘It’s not exactly right, but by God it is close. If I don’t buy this home, somebody else will.”

The Canadian market’s sudden plunge in 2009 was sparked by a credit crunch that originated in the U.S. housing and lending industries - eventually spreading globally, causing a worldwide recession in the late summer and early fall of 2009.

However, the Canadian real estate market has been much quicker to recover than its American counterpart, in part because of a more stable banking industry, historically low interest rates and improving consumer confidence.

There are still other factors at play. Real Estate agents are on pins and needles waiting for industry announcements to drive home sales.

Three plays they are waiting to see are the Canpotex, Watson Island property announcement and a third container ship visit per week in 2010. While there is no guarantee than any of the three announcements are imminent – or at all – any ammo to help sell a home in 2010 is welcomed.

And Prystay didn’t hold back on his beliefs.

“There is a fair amount of confidence in the Prince Rupert market. I don’t hear any doom or gloom out there. We have Canpotex. I am very bullish about what might be the effect of the Watson Island property sell on our economy – if it goes to the right people. I think there is a huge potential for job creation.”

With files from Canadian Press.

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