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P.G. a good real estate buy, investor tells conference

Frank O'Brien, The Prince George Citizen, March 12, 2015

Buying raw land on the fringe of Prince George is among the best real estate buys in British Columbia, according to Rudy Nielson, president of Niho Land & Cattle Co. and the largest private landowner in the province.

"Prince George has it all. It is a hub city for the province," Nielson said following an address to the annual Jurock Land Rush conference in Vancouver.

Nielson, who also owns Landcor Data Corp., the biggest real estate data collection company in B.C., said the expansion of the Prince George airport and upgrading of rail lines to northcoast B.C. container port at Prince Rupert has made the northern city a key container terminal in North America. He noted a 320-acre development near the airport is designed to handle only container traffic.

"The whole world is going to containers and Prince George has planned for that," Nielson said. He added that the northern city will remain the central service centre for B.C.'s liquefied natural gas industry and its strengthening forestry sector. The latter, he said, is the most important economic driver in the north.

"A lower Canadian dollar and a rise in U.S. homebuilding will keep northern sawmills booming this year," Nielson said.

Real estate consultant and investor Ozzie Jurock picked Prince George as among the best residential real estate investment destinations for 2015, citing strong job growth and relatively low residential real estate prices. The city's unemployment rate of 4.6%, compared to a B.C. average of 5.4%, Jurock noted.

He added that a single-family detached house sells for an average of $258,000 in Prince George, compared with a B.C. average of $590,000.