Last weeks election was a barnburner. As you all know, Christy Clark and the Liberals pulled out the upset victory that no polls predicted and secured another majority government. This was very good news for Dawson Creek real estate for a few reasons.
The first and most important reason this is good news is psychological. Our local economy is currently driven by the energy industry. It was widely perceived that an NDP government let by Adrian Dix would basically destroy that industry. This may have been misplaced concern or it may have been a very real threat. Either way, they lost and huge sigh of relief exhaled from the collective local population. That psychological impact alone should positively affect how people feel about their future prospects and fuel some real estate activity.
The next reason this election result was such welcome news is that the Liberal parties position on liquefied natural gas (LNG) is very clear. While the NDP professed to have the same ambition it wasn’t clear that they understood the urgency of getting these projects approved and operational as soon as possible. It is imperative for our province, and more importantly for our community that these projects move full steam ahead. It is a game changer for us to be able to ship what is currently our most plentiful commodity to the buyers that want it. We simply can not rely on the US as our sole customer. They have plenty of their own shale gas.
The election and what at the time appeared to be an impending regime change appeared to have an impact, if you remove all other factors from consideration (which is crazy, but lets do it anyway). The real estate market in Dawson Creek came out of the gates at a strong pace this year matching last years record numbers for transactions and showing relatively generous market appreciation. Then things cooled off in the past few weeks. We started to see transaction levels closer to 2010 numbers (71 in the past three months compared with 91 last year and 73 in 2010, 2011 was quiet).
I think that this did in fact have something to do with the election. As I mentioned people were not feeling too good about their future prospects with what looked to be an NDP government coming into power. Having the Liberals back in the legislature should see people loosen up their purse strings and get back in the game.
Going forward, I think that it’s inevitable that the election results are going to be great for Dawson Creek real estate. We know what to expect from Christy Clark and the Liberals. Our new MLA, Mike Bernier, is untested at this time but I think he has the goods to ensure that our region gets it due. The energy industry should accelerate activity in the region and units should continue to move a relatively good pace. It just might take a little bit of time to get back there.