This September, a buyer could purchase a detached house in Fort Nelson, B.C., for an average price of $155,262, down $50,000 from two years ago, while in Prince George, a detached house is selling for just over $504,000, down 4.3 per cent from a year earlier.

Data for the first nine months of 2023 from the least and most expensive cities in northern B.C. show that housing is becoming less expensive, in direct contrast to the southern urban area of the province.

The average detached house price across Northern B.C. hovered around $408,000 in the third quarter, down from the peak of $431,000 seen in second  quarter of 2022, according to the Northern B.C. Real Estate Board.

In comparison the current benchmark detached-house price in B.C.’s Lower Mainland is now $1,797,800, up 5.5 per cent from September 2022.

During the first nine months of this year, 3,354 residential properties sold across the north, compared to 4,210 at the same time a year earlier.

“Overall, the housing market in the BC Northern Board area remains soft as high and rising interest rates have constrained affordability for buyers,” according to a board release, adding that “amid softening labour markets and economic growth, sales are anticipated to remain cool into 2024.”

This forecast is in despite of the expected completion of the $44 billion LNG Canada export terminal at Kitimat and its related natural gas pipeline project next year.

According to board data, housing sales have fallen year-to-year in Kitimat, Smithers and Terrace in northeastern B.C. while increasing in Prince George, Prince Rupert, Fort St John, 100 Mile House, and Williams Lake.

Terrace is a price outlier, with detached-house prices rising steadily since 2021 to an average of $500,716 this year, third highest in the region behind 100 Mile House and Prince George.

Fort St. John, the second-largest city in Northern B.C., has an average detached-house price now of $412,955, up from $409,853 a year ago, the Northern B.C. Real Estate Board reports.

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