Sales statistics for the month of March that suggest an improving real estate market appear to be supported by quarterly figures.
Randy Weins, owner of Weins World Real Estate and past-president of the Central Alberta Realtors Association, has been compiling sales volumes and price numbers for Red Deer and other Central Alberta communities in three-month increments for years.
He concludes that the real estate market has hit bottom.
Looking only at single-family dwellings, which Weins believes is most representative of the overall market, he found that 210 homes were sold through the MLS system in Red Deer between January to March of this year.
That figure was up from 171 sales in the fourth quarter of 2008, but down from 296 a year ago.
There were 43 sales of single-detached homes in Sylvan Lake during the most recent three-month period.
That compares with 38 in the final quarter of 2008 and 69 in the first quarter of last year.
Sales of single-detached homes in Innisfail reached 24 last quarter.
The figure was 21 to end last year and 30 in the first quarter of 2008.
This year started with 23 single-detached sales in Lacombe, up from 20 in the final quarter of 2008 but down from 34 in the first three months of that year, reported Weins.
Single-detached home sales in Blackfalds reached 22 in the most recent quarter, jumping from 14 for the final three months of last year but down from 27 to start 2008.
Ponoka and Rocky Mountain House each recorded 20 sales of single-detached dwellings during the first three months of 2009.
That number compares with eight for Ponoka and 15 for Rocky in the fourth quarter of 2008, and 20 and 18 for the two communities respectively to start 2008.
In the case of Stettler, Weins determined that there have been 18 MLS sales of single-detached homes as of March 31 of this year.
For the preceding quarter the figure was 19, and for January to March 2008 it was 13.
He calculated that the median price of single-detached homes sold in Red Deer during the first quarter was $305,000. The median was $310,000 in the preceding quarter and $327,000 in the first quarter of 2008.
In Sylvan Lake the median price for this type of home to start 2009 was $318,000, with the corresponding figures for the fourth and first quarters last year being $370,000 and $323,000, respectively.
For Lacombe, the median price was $289,000 in the most recent quarter, as compared with $308,000 in the preceding three-month period and $320,000 a year ago.
Single-detached dwellings in Blackfalds have sold for a median price of $278,000 so far this year, said Weins, which is down from $284,000 and $305,000 for the fourth and first quarters of 2008.
The median price in Ponoka was $247,000, up from $231,000 at the end of last year and $207,000 at the beginning of last year.
At Rocky, the median price from January to March was $280,000, this was the same figure as the previous quarter but lower than the $306,000 median of a year ago.
Finally, Stettler experienced a big jump in the median price of single-detached houses sold last quarter.
The $254,000 figure was well above the $185,000 median in the fourth quarter of 2008 and also topped the $228,000 median from the first quarter last year.