Central Alberta’s real estate market was spared a COVID-19 battering in March.
But it looks like April will be a different story.
March was almost a carbon copy of last year, with 248 sales across the region, compared with 243 in March 2019, according to statistics compiled by the Central Alberta Realtors Association.
From January to March, there were 633 house sales in central Alberta, almost identical to the 632 sales over the same period last year.
“We were down a little bit, but not near what we thought was going to happen,” said association president Allan Melbourne.
The numbers reflect the acitvity that occurred earlier in the year, before COVID restrictions were put in place.
“I know in April, we’re down significantly,” said Melbourne.
In central Alberta, there were 83 sales in the first two weeks of the month. Last year, by April 15, there were 179.
“Sales are definitely going to be down in April and I would suspect the same thing in May,” he said.
“The spring market has just been totally delayed. Usually around this time, things are starting to pop.”
In Red Deer, 100 homes were sold last month, identical to the number sold the previous two years, and only two more than the 98 sales in 2017.
Over three months, 248 homes were sold in the city, compared with 263 last year.
The results are similar in many central Alberta communities, with some seeing more house sales last month than the first quarter of 2019.
In Lacombe, 40 homes changed hands, compared with 38 last year. Innisfail had 18 sales, compared with 15 a year ago, and Rocky Mountain House had 14 and 11 last year.
Some communities experienced sharp drops in sales. Blackfalds sales dropped 33 per cent to 36 sales from 48 a year ago.
Sylvan Lake’s 49 sales were well below last year’s 57 — a 14 per cent drop. Stettler had 12 sales, the same as last year. Ponoka had 13, down from 19 in 2019.