Central Alberta’s home sales scene last year was a case of déjà vu.
By the time the last set of keys had been handed over at the end of last year, 3,819 units had been sold in the area. That was down slightly — 1.5 per cent — from 2016, according to Multiple Listing Service statistics provided by Central Alberta Realtors Association.
Last December was almost a carbon copy of the previous December with 191 residential sales — up 2.1 per cent or four sales.The dollar value of all home sales in December 2017 was $58.4 million, up 7.6 per cent from a year earlier.
Statistics released earlier this month show the number of residential properties sold in Red Deer fell by 9.8 per cent in 2017 compared with 2016.
In 2017, 1,389 residential properties were sold, which includes family homes and condos, compared with 1,539 the previous year.
Realtors Association president Mike Snell said that while 2017 may have been slightly off 2016’s numbers it was not as bad a year as some realtors had projected earlier.
“I know in conversation some realtors thought the year was really tough and others thought the year was really good.
“The best way that I could put it was the 2017 market was challenging but it wasn’t the worse situation that it could have been. There was still a lot of activity.”
Snell classifies the market as holdings its own.
“We definitely started seeing some increased buyer confidence.”
Making long-term predictions so early in the year is difficult at best but his expectation is a similar year to last year. “January, so far, has been steady.”
Real estate markets nationwide are facing some head winds. New mortgage stress test rules kicked in at the start of the year, which raises the bar on qualifying for a mortgage.
As well, two weeks ago, the Bank of Canada raised the trend-setting overnight lending rate a quarter point to 1.25 per cent.