November house sales up

It’s been a tough year for residential sales but it’s starting to look up.

Residential home sales appear to be picking up again.

For the first time all year, residential sales were up over the comparable month in 2015. Last month, there 267 units sold, up 3.1 per cent from a year ago.

The small increase builds on last month, when October home sales almost exactly matched sales numbers for the same month in 2015, according to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) statistics provided by the Central Alberta Realtors Association.

Larry Westergard, executive officer for the realtors association, said beginning in October and through December sales have been looking up.

“I think we’re starting to see some positive signs,” he said. “(They’re) small gains, but still positive news.”

Overall, it has been a tough year in the Central Alberta housing market. The 3,692 sales recorded through the first 11 months is down 13.7 per cent from a year earlier. Province-wide, the decline has been 6.1 per cent.

Related story: October house sales

While the November increase is good news, the market has a long way to go to match 2014. The number of house sales last month, trails the near-record November 2014 by 24.3 per cent.

For buyers, there is plenty of choice. There were 2,747 active residential listings on the MLS at the end of last month, up 11.9 per cent over 2015 and above the long-run average for this time of year.

There were 10.6 months of inventory on the market, which is the number of months it would take to sell off all of the homes listed at current sales rates.

Westergard said while there are plenty of homes on the market and prices have dropped a little, home sellers are not panicking.

“People have the numbers they need in order to sell. The market from that perspective is very stable.”

In Red Deer last month, 77 single-detached homes sold, the same as last year. Year to date, there have been 985 sales, down from 1,066 in the first 11 months of last year.

Central Alberta single detached sales hit 164 last month, up from 154 a year ago. Overall sales are at 2,260 compared with 2,540.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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