Central Alberta house sales got off to a running start in 2021, soaring 54 per cent in the region — by far the best January in at least five years.
There were 333 homes sold across the region last month, up from 216 a year ago, according to statistics from the Central Alberta Realtors Association. The next best January in the five years of statistics posted on the association’s website was 241 homes in 2018.
In Red Deer, home-buying enthusiasm was just as high with 100 houses sold — up 45 per cent from the 69 sold in January 2020. The next best year over the past five was 2017 when 88 homes were sold.
Red Deer County’s 62 sales was double the 31 from a year ago.
The fast start is good news for a real estate industry that just weathered a years of highs and lows. As the pandemic took hold in March, sales in what is normally the busiest season for realtors plummeted. Sales from April through August were well below the 2020 pace — a year that was weak to begin with.
Markets began to turn around in September and in the last three months of the year were ahead of 2020.
The regional statistics also provide other sources of good news for sellers. The average sale price in January was $321,145, compared with $300,665 a year ago. While realtors always caution average sale price figures can be easily swayed by a handful of sales of higher-priced homes, the face sales prices were higher than 2020 through the last six months of 2020 appears to show the market is heading in the right direction.
For those trying to sell their homes, the average number of days to sell was 97 last month, the first time in three years it has been below 100 days.
Red Deer’s market reflects similar trends. The average sale price last month was $328,081, compared with $321,154 in January 2020. The average number of days to sell is 71, down from 84 a year earlier.
In some of the smaller markets, the turnaround is even more pronounced. In Sylvan Lake, 29 homes were sold last month, nearly triple the 10 sold in January 2020. Blackfalds sales increased to 18 homes, from 14 and in Ponoka seven homes sold, compared with two a year ago. Stettler had six sales, compared with three in 2020.
In Lacombe, there were 12 sales, compared with 15 last year. However, the early-year market there has been very stable with sales ranging from 11 to 13 for the previous three years. Innisfail January sales held steady at five for the last two years.
Rocky Mountain House was also down, with three sales compared with six in January 2020.