Real estate to make steady gains
The Portage Citizen
The coming influx of new workers and their families to Portage la Prairie attracted by new jobs at Roquette when it is built and when Simplot expands will put expected and unexpected pressure in the real estate market.
“There will be a shortage of housing in the near future,” Rhonda Lodwick, owner/realtor Century 21 Foxx Realty speculates. “That’s my take. The long-time Portage realtor says a spike in real estate prices might not happen for two years, “until the two industries are up and running.
Smaller homes are selling now as investment properties, or to people looking to get in on the rental market. “If we think long-term, that’s when we might see spikes in the market and we see fewer houses for sale,” Lodwick said. “There’s been a lot of sold signs go up in the past two weeks so we don’t have a big surplus. If we don’t carry a surplus, it drives prices up.”
Even with the single-family housing, apartment and condo rental units now under construction or soon to be, “after the workers have been in their new jobs for six to 12 months, they have job stability and can apply for mortgages putting further pressure on supply.
“If someone is looking to buy now and is ready to buy now, it is a great time because the market hasn’t climbed much,” she said. .
“If you’re looking at selling and you want top dollar…top dollar might still be a year or two away. In the future you can probably sell high, but if you are also buying, your purchase will also be high,” Lodwick said.
“On commercial, we haven’t heard a lot of activity – the most significant development is Co-op’s project at the west end,” Vern May, Portage Regional Economic Development (PRED) executive director said. “They have already constructed the new Liquor Mart and unofficially Mr. Mike’s Steak House has found a local franchisee. “We’ve had a lot of conversations with Shindico,” May said. “We know they are actively marketing Portage la Prairie within the province and nationally. They are getting out there and talking up Portage la Prairie.”
Residential projects are being approved at an unprecedented rate. The Portage Condominium Group has been approved to increase its apartment building block project by two more 14-unit buildings on 18 St. NW; A 3 St. E. multifamily project is underway; the Broad Street project is in the final stages of approval and plans to break ground in June. The approved 148 units on the six-acre parcel and the subsequent infrastructure on the Dufferin Ave. extension, paved the way – literally – for the Portage Assisted Living Project – the first of its kind here.
“We’re seeing a lot of new enquiries, in some cases, I believe, they are a little bit late to the game,” May said. “When Roquette was announced last year we were proactive in communicating ‘there will be a ripple effect of opportunity here and you need to get on it’. Things really got active Feb. 14 with Simplot making its announcement.
“I know there’s a lot of investors looking at Portage right now for land and development so we may have new subdivisions go up,” Lodwick said. “Planning and zoning could take 12 months to get started so could very well be two years before we have houses built in those developments. Once they are added to supply, house prices will stay stable.
“Bringing businesses into the community drives people towards the community and encourages people to invest into the community. The boom is attracting developers who would not otherwise operate in Portage. The competition is good. People are looking now for commercial space. There’s some building in town sitting vacant and I know there have been some enquiries into purchasing or developing them. The boom is going to do well for us,” Lodwick said. “People are thinking outside the box.”