Mortgage Corner: A look at the Creston Valley housing market

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Dean Bala is a mortgage broker and Realtor working out of the Creston Valley Realty office in Creston.

Dean Bala is a mortgage broker and Realtor working out of the Creston Valley Realty office in Creston.

As a Realtor, the most common question asked seems to be “How is the market doing?” or some variation of that. Whether a person is buying, selling or just curious what is happening, it seems to be a topic of great interest. So for this month’s column, I thought I would give a summary of what has been happening in the Creston real estate market and where it looks like it is going. While there are a number of statistics and figures I could use to illustrate this, I am going to focus on the number of properties sold. Average list price, sale price, days on market, etc. are all excellent data, but in my opinion require more analysis and explanation than I wanted to get into. My intention is to just give a general overview of what the market is doing.

To give a broad summary of the last number of years, the market here has been in slow, steady decline. We had quite a run in prices and volume up until around 2007-2008. That is when real estate generally “crashed” everywhere. Creston’s decline was much more subtle. While the number of houses selling declined significantly, prices never have really crashed per se. It is safe to say that prices have been in slow steady decline since then. To give an example of what has been happening in sales volume (total number of properties sold) here is how many properties have sold each year: 2007 – 312, 2008 – 199, 2009 – 201, 2010 – 152, 2011 – 160, 2012 – 151, 2013 – 163, 2014 – 255. This includes both in Creston, and acreages in surrounding communities. For the purposes of this column, I have decided not to separate them to keep things simpler, but I am more than happy to send this info upon request.

So as you can see, last year things really picked up! From a price standpoint, prices were still in decline, but the number of houses selling went up a great deal. While hard to predict what will happen for the remainder of the year, we are off to an incredible start so far. By this time last year, 11 properties had sold, while this year we are at 27 sold to date.

In my opinion, what has happened is that prices have finally come down to a level where people are willing and/or able to buy. In turn, we are seeing a lot more property change hands. As this happens, the local market is just going to get healthier and healthier. At some point when inventory cleans up and demand starts to exceed supply, I think we will begin to see prices stabilize and slowly begin to rise. When that will happen is anyone’s guess, but I think we are getting close.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers? For buyers it means that it could be a great time to buy. For sellers it means that while you may not get as much as you could have at one point, it is a much healthier market so the chances of your property moving are higher. All in all it seems like we are in a much healthier, more stable market.

Dean Bala is a mortgage broker and Realtor working out of the Creston Valley Realty office in Creston. He can be reached at 250 402-3903 or