City releases April economic update

In April, Prince George’s unemployment rate was 5.4 per cent, a decrease of 0.9 per cent when compared to the same month in 2017 when it was 6.3 per cent, according to the city’s latest economic update. The unemployment rate of 5.4 per cent for Prince George was higher than the provincial rate of 5.0 per cent but lower than the national rate of 5.8 per cent.

Prince George’s employment rate in April 2018 was 70.7 per cent, an increase from the same month in April 2017 when it was 65.7 per cent, a 5.0 per cent positive change. The employment rate of 70.7 per cent for Prince George was substantially higher than Canada’s national rate of 61.6 per cent and British Columbia’s rate of 61.8 per cent.

Total employment in the Cariboo Economic Development region was 83,400 during April 2018. This represents an increase of 1,600 jobs when compared to the previous month. The Cariboo region has added 4,100 jobs since January 2018 when total employment was 79,300. The Construction category saw an increase of 400 jobs and the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services category also increased by 400 jobs. Job numbers decreased in the Truck Transportation category by 300 jobs.

Real Estate

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported the average absorbed single-detached unit price for new housing construction for April 2018 was $581,317 with 11 new units sold in Prince George. This is a 12.9 per cent increase in unit price for new housing construction when compared to April 2017 when the average absorbed single detached unit price for new housing construction was $514,711 and 6 new houses were sold.The number of new houses sold in Prince George increased 83 per cent when comparing April 2018 to the same month in 2017.

The BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) reported home sales in Northern BC totaled 392 units in April 2018, an increase of 12.6 per cent from April 2017. The average price of homes sold in Northern BC was $291,106 in April 2018, an increase of 2.4 per cent from April 2017. This average residential price is useful for establishing trends and comparisons over time but does not indicate the actual price of a home due to the wide selection of housing over a vast geographic area; BCNREB serves an area over 600,000 square kilometres. The dollar value of home sales for April 2018 totaled $114.1 million, rising 15.4 per cent from the same month in 2017. Active residential listings on the Board MLS System numbered 1,906 units at the end of April, a decline of 18.8 per cent from the end of April 2017. This is the lowest level of active listings on record for the month of April since 2002.

House Construction

There were 17 (14 SFD, 3 multiples) total housing starts in Prince George during April 2018 compared to 24 (16 SFD, 8 multiples) in April 2017. There were 7 (7 SFD, 0 multiple) completions in April 2018 while April 2017 had 5 (3 SFD, 2 multiples) completions.

Across B.C., housing starts decreased by 10.7 per cent from 3,673 (1,021 SFDs, 2,652 multiples) in April 2017 to 3,279 (923 SFDs, 2,356 multiples) in April 2018. The total number of completions in BC decreased by 20.4 per cent from 2,822 (775 SFDs, 2,047 multiples) in April 2017 to 2,245 (816 SFDs, 1,429 multiples) in April 2018.

Building permits

The City of Prince George issued 49 building permits valued at $14,901,926 in April 2018, including $14,736,926 in single family residential permits, $125,000 in commercial permits. Industrial permits came in at $40,000 while no institutional permits were issued.This is a 9.7 per cent increase in dollar value of total permits over April 2017 when 50 permits were issued at a value of $13,589,532.

Business Licences

The City of Prince George issued 31 new business licenses and 125 business license renewals in April 2018.