After a brief lull earlier this year, Estevan’s real estate market has heated back up again.
The owners of the city’s two largest firms said their companies are both busy trying to meet the needs of a growing city.
“Everybody feels like it’s crazy,” said Lynn Chipley, the owner of Century 21 Border Real Estate Service. “That’s probably because there is still good demand and never enough inventory.”
Lorna Pylychaty, the owner of Remax Progressive Realty, said they too are busy despite the lack of inventory.
“(As of Thursday) there are 73 properties on the market but that includes condos and mobiles,” said Pylychaty. “So I wouldn’t say there is a lot.”
Chipley said the market went through a quiet period during the spring as Estevan and area dealt with the flooding situation. However, she noted it didn’t take long for things to heat back up again.
“Sometimes, when there are things like road bans on, we’ll be busy because those guys aren’t,” she said. “There was a lot of volunteer effort going on and there was a lot of people just tied up helping with that. And, there were some people that were laid off, so that caused a little bit of a lull but we have been back at it now for the past three or four weeks and it has been pretty steady.”
Despite the lack of inventory, both Chipley and Pylychaty described the current market as balanced.
“I wouldn’t say it’s (a buyers or sellers market). I still think it’s a nice blend, a balanced market,” said Pylychaty.
Chipley said although the demand is outstripping the inventory, some buyers are still not willing to overpay.
“If something is priced ridiculously high people aren’t biting. I think our prices have levelled to a certain degree. They rose through the year and I think we are at a levelling point.
“That has to always happen. People only make so much. Even the big wage earners in town are only making so much money and prices can’t be so ridiculously high that they can’t qualify for a mortgage.”
As has been the case throughout Estevan’s recent economic boom, finding an entry level home remains as tough as ever. Where buyers could once get into the market for around $100,000, they are now looking at spending well over $200,000 for a similar property.
“If you can’t spend $200,000 for something here it is very hard,” said Chipley who noted that as of Thursday afternoon, there were 42 houses available and of those only five were under $200,000.
“There are some smaller condos that are older in the $150,000 range but those get gobbled up fairly quickly. For single-family dwellings, there is just not much. But I’ve never known Estevan not to be kind of a tough market.”
Pylychaty said the high entry level prices are not only impacting groups such as young families that are looking to buy a home in Estevan, they have also had a detrimental effect on the city’s burgeoning immigrant community.
“It’s tough for them break to in now because when they came the price of a start maybe would have been $180,000 or something that they could do. Now that they have been here long enough to buy we have jumped that up again.”