Economy hits home sales

Realtors not surprised by trend

A decline in Central Alberta residential housing sales in August is a reflection of the current economic climate in Alberta, Larry Westergard, executive officer for the Central Alberta Realtors Association, said Tuesday.

The numbers reported for last month by the association showed sales of 369 units, down 13.8 per cent from August 2015. The average price in August was $299,867, which is down 6.4 per cent from a year ago.

On a year-to-year basis there were 2,721 home sales over the first eight months of 2016, which represents a 16.8-per-cent decrease during the same period last year.

“Based on where we sit provincially, it’s nothing that we didn’t expect,” Westergard said.

The numbers are reported by Central Alberta Realtors through the MLS system. They cover an area that ranges from the national parks in the west to the Saskatchewan border in the east, north to the Camrose/Wetaskiwin area and south to the Trochu/Olds area.

Westergard said the numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt as they are broad and over a large geographic area for the entire association, so not just Red Deer or Lacombe numbers for example.

“Real estate is always much more local than some of these numbers will indicate.”

Residential sales activity in all of Alberta fell four per cent from August 2915.

In Central Alberta, new residential listings were 842 units in August, down 4.3 per cent from August 2015.

Overall, there were 3,448 active residential listings, or 15.5 per cent more when compared with the end of August 2015.

There is a good inventory on the market, Westergard said.

“I think there’s still some great opportunities for buyers. There’s still plenty of properties for buyers to choose from, and what it means is a seller really has to make sure they are being realistic in what their expectations are when they’re going to sell a home,” Westergard said.

There were 9.3 months of inventory at the end of August 2016, up from seven months at the end of August 2015. Months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

The dollar value of all home sales in August 2016 was $110.7 million, down 19.3 per cent from August 2015.

Sales of all types of properties totalled 384 units in August, with a total value of $117.3 million, and down 22.4 per cent on a year-over-year basis.