I hate predicting the future. It’s impossible. But hey! I’m going to give it a shot anyway.
I think that the worst may be behind us. Why? Primarily because I’m an optimist by nature. Secondarily, I’ve heard a few anecdotal pieces of info from a few guys I know who are hired back or are hiring back in preparation for the road bans coming off.
Thirdly, I think that the actual market fundamentals are coming into focus and are starting to balance out. The free market in the US, Canada and the North Sea has adjusted enough that OPEC and Russia are getting what they want without having to do anything about it.
So here is why I think the worst is behind us. First, fortunately for us, we didn’t feel the heat turn up until the fourth quarter of 2015. That’s when the layoffs started and the vacancies piled up. The energy crisis had been in full swing for almost a year at that point. The price of oil seems to have bottomed out around $26 per barrel in January. It’s recovered to over $40 for more than 2 months now. The market for energy appears to be stabilizing. That is good news for local activity, which really has nowhere to go but up.
In my world, the Dawson Creek residential real estate world, the market has followed suit. Over the past few weeks things appear to have stabilized. Listings are actually down today compared with three weeks ago. This has been accomplished through a combination of less listing activity, sales and expired listings. Whatever the cause, this is awesome news. We had over 240 listings. Today we have 229. My fear of 350 listings being on the market by mid July has been alleviated. I think we’re going to carry 10 to 15 percent more inventory than usual throughout the year.
The gap between what a buyer wants to pay and what a seller wants to get is still huge, and that has been reflected in a lingering slow market as far as transaction numbers go. Activity is down about 37% over the past three months compared with the five-year average. That is on par with what we saw in the first quarter of this year. Anecdotally, there do seem to be more buyers out there.
The amount of activity we see will ultimately determine what prices do. In my recent experience there are a number a buyers out there who are simply looking for the best deal possible, and they are willing to wait to see if better deals are going to come at a later date. I think that over the course of the next year, we are going to see some deals that buyers will hop all over. Sellers that find themselves in a bind will exist. However, we’re probably going to see a lot more frustrated buyers who are left wondering why the seller of the house they want to buy isn’t being more agreeable.
It has to be stated, that the worst-being-behind-us and the-good-times-firing-back up are two different things. I think that we are probably going to have a few lean years to live through before life gets back to normal. Presuming, of course, that 2009 – 2014 was normal. Until then, people will continue to buy and sell real estate in Dawson Creek.
Kevin Kurjata is a Dawson Creek Real Estate Specialist with Century 21 Energy Realty. He can be reached at 250.719.3538 or by email at