Red Deer house sales stayed hot in Red Deer through February. (File photo from The Canadian Press)

Red Deer house sales stayed hot in Red Deer through February. (File photo from The Canadian Press)

Red Deer residential sales still ahead of last year despite September dip

Central Alberta sales below last year’s pace through September

Red Deer house sales are still ahead of last year but dipped in September compared with a year ago.

There were 1,654 residential units sold in the city through nine months this year, up from 1,545 a year ago and 940 in 2020 when the pandemic took hold, according to Multiple Listing Service numbers provided by Central Alberta Realtors Association (CARA).

Month over month, sales in the city were down from 2021 with 127 sold in September, compared with 171 in September 2021.

Across central Alberta, 4,773 units sold through September, down from 5,355 in 2021, but well ahead of the 3,241 sales in 2020.

Comparing Septembers, there were 408 sales last month central Alberta-wide, compared with 496 in September 2021.

CARA chair Larrissa Kalyn said she has spoken to a number of other realtors in the area and they are also saw slower Septembers.

Kalyn, a realtor with Century 21 Westcountry Realty Ltd., said there are likely several factors at play. It is not uncommon for sales to slow at the end of the summer as parents are focused on getting children ready for school and their sports.

Sales often come back a little the following month as those looking at switching homes try to get it done before winter.

News reports of rising interest rates and the possibility of a significant house price market correction may also be giving some buyers second thoughts.

The impact of both of those are expected to be muted in the central Alberta housing markets, compared with the hot markets in B.C. and Ontario urban centres.

Kalyn said prices have remained stable in central Alberta and she is not expecting significant corrections.

“We’re not seeing our prices coming down yet, but they didn’t skyrocket out of the park either,” she said.

That means interest rates usually play less of a role in decision making here because the average home sells for around $350,000, compared with double that in other parts of the country.

“An extra $400,000 with a higher interest rate makes a huge difference.”

Inventory shortages have also played a role. Kalyn said those looking for acreages have been finding pickings slim as one example.

Rocky Mountain House is among central Alberta communities that have seen a big increase in residential sales — 156 sales through September, compared with 101 last year.

“A lot of people coming into the area getting away from the major centres. A lot of people after COVID are staying remote. They are not expecting to go back into the office so they don’t have to live in the major centres anymore.

“We’ve seen a lot of people from out east (Ontario) and B.C. relocating to our county.”

How the rest of the year will shape up is anyone’s guess.

“The last two years, through COVID and the recovery, have been some of the most unpredictable years in real estate.”

Most realtors would be happy if the rest of the year finished out at the same pace as the first three quarters, she said, adding that would amount to a healthy market good for buyers and sellers.

Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA) has slightly different numbers for Red Deer 2022 sales — 1,643 or up eight per cent over 2021 — however the trends remain consistent. For September, AREA reports 126 sales, down 21 per cent from September 2021.

Province-wide, AREA reports 70,403 residential sales, up five per cent from the first nine months of 2021. Calgary had the strongest market among seven Alberta cities with sales increasing 15 per cent to 24,976. Grande Prairie’s 1,274 represented a 10 per cent increase, with Red Deer and Edmonton tied at eight per cent. Sales were up three per cent in Fort McMurray, down seven per cent in Lethbridge and down 11 per cent in Medicine Hat.

Year-over-year statistics in other central Alberta communities (2021 in brackets):

• Blackfalds — 262 (254)

• Innisfail— 152 (145)

• Lacombe — 236 (252)

• Penhold — 82 (62)

•Ponoka — 121 (118)

•Rocky Mountain House — 156 (101)

• Stettler — 106 (115)

• Sylvan Lake — 461 (436)

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