Red Deer’s housing market stayed hot last month with sales up more than 40 per cent over last year.
There were 195 homes sold in the city last year, a 43 per cent increase from the 136 that changed hands in 2021, according to Multiple Listing Service statistics compiled by the Central Alberta Realtors Association.
The strong month suggests the momentum that contributed to a 32 per cent increase in sales in January — 132 this year compared with 100 in 2021 — has not slowed. It also reflects a huge rebound from February 2020 when only 79 homes were sold in Red Deer, a month before the pandemic hit and dramatically shook up the housing market.
Through the first two months of the year, house sales in Red Deer are up 38 per cent — 327 this year compared with 236 in 2021. In 2020, only 148 homes had been sold in the city by the end of February.
Alberta Real Estate Association’s (AREA) monthly report for Red Deer has different numbers but reflects the same trend.
AREA counts 298 year-to-date sales for the city, the strongest start to the year in more than 14 years and 50 per cent higher than long-term averages.
“The early boost in sales can reflect consumers looking to get into the market before expected gains in lending rates,” says AREA’s report.
Last week, for the first time since 2018, the Bank of Canada hiked the overnight interest rate to cool real estate markets and tame inflation. The bank increased interest rates by 0.25 per cent and more hikes are sure to come throughout the year, say analysts.
Inventory remains tight with just over 400 units available last month, down from last year and nearly 20 per cent lower than long-term trends. Pickings are even slimmer for detached homes, with only about a two-month supply available.
The average sale price was down nearly five per cent to $336,140. This reflects the type of homes being sold rather than falling values of individual properties, says AREA.
“After the first two months of the year, a larger number of sales occurred for properties priced below $300,000 compared to last year.”
Red Deer County sales are also ahead of last year, with 153 sales through two months, compared with 143 in 2021.
Across central Alberta, February house sales were on par with last year, with 458 sales last month compared with 451 a year ago, according to Central Alberta Realtors Association numbers. Year-to-date numbers show a similar trend — 777 sales compared with 783 in 2021.
Sylvan Lake sales remain strong with 72 sales through the first two months of the year, compared with 61 a year ago. Over the same period in Lacombe, there were 39 sales, up 11 from last year, and in Blackfalds, there have been 44 sales, almost the same as the 43 through February last year.
Other communities sales totals this year include (2021 in brackets):
•Innisfail — 24 (14)
• Ponoka — 14 (17)
•Stettler — 24 (16)
•Penhold — 11 (8)