October 15 2014 – Market Update

Mon, 20 Oct by Dale Russell

Sylvan Lake Market Update – October sales to the middle of the month slowed from the same time in September and are also down from the same time last year.  At the same time, the number of active listings is down.  The Sylvan Lake market is expected to slow in the fall as second home sales tail off.  The market now offers buyers an opportunity to take advantage of those slower months.

A strong real estate market is a function of a strong economy.  Oil prices are down which is not good, but the dollar is down as well which means oil company revenues and government royalties stay relatively high.  The new premier is spending lots of money on construction and will continue to spend until the election in 2016.  All in all the future looks bright.

Housing construction continues at strong pace – Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist, ATB Financial – Home builders in Alberta ended the summer of 2014 on a high note when construction started on a near record number of new homes.  The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported yesterday that housing starts in Alberta totaled 47,105 in September. This figure is adjusted for seasonality, and represents starts on an annualized basis—that is, the number of new homes that would be started if the pace set in September was maintained for twelve months.

Housing starts in Alberta are up 6.6 per cent from August. Over the last twelve months, they’ve risen by an astounding 17 per cent compared to the previous twelve month total. It’s also the second highest month for housing starts since the end of the last big construction boom hit the province in 2006-2008. The only other month that has seen higher numbers was June of this year.

The surge in housing starts is in response to strong demand, much of it driven by in-migration to the province. It is also consistent with the strong demand for existing housing, which is reflected by the sales and prices of homes on the market over the past year. For now, Alberta’s economy is creating enough new jobs—and keeping wages high enough—to sustain this pace of home construction. There is little to suggest that builders are creating a real estate bubble by putting too many homes onto the market.

Job market roars back to life in September – Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist, ATB Financial – After shedding jobs over the summer, Alberta’s labour market was back in high gear at the beginning of fall. The 21,200 jobs added last month marked the highest monthly increase in over three years and one of the biggest jumps on record for the province. About two-thirds of the new jobs were full-time positions. (All figures are seasonally adjusted.)

Alberta’s unemployment rate fell to 4.4 per cent, a drop of half a percentage point from August. The unemployment rate in the province has fluctuated between four and five per cent, representing a healthy, balanced job market. Alberta has added over 54,000 jobs over the last twelve months, most of these in manufacturing, educational services and construction.

The jobs report also had good news for the country. Canada’s economy added 74,000 jobs, the majority of them full-time. Ontario, which has suffered from very slow job growth over the last year, saw the largest increase with almost 25,000 new positions.

Saskatchewan also added 7,000 new jobs. The national unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 6.8 per cent—the lowest it’s been since December 2008. Alberta’s strong job results last month more than made up for the large number of jobs lost over the summer. With over 11,000 jobs shed in August, some may have worried about the health of the province’s economy. But one month of data is never a trend. Taking the last several months into account, Alberta still appears to be the place to be for job seekers.

SL Oct 15 2014

RE/MAX Housing Blog A Mom’s Advice: Preparing Your Home for Baby

Tue, 14 Oct by Dale Russell

By Deborah Kearns, RE/MAX Senior Editor, Corporate Communications

This spring, we welcomed a healthy baby boy to our family. His happy addition expanded our family from three to four. It also expanded the housework, cleaning and laundry tenfold now that we have two kids!

I admit, it hasn’t always been easy. After a few exhausting weeks, we eventually settled into a rhythm, a productive albeit at times chaotic, one.

What helped were the steps I took before he was born.

1. Take stock and declutter. Before the baby arrives, it helps to declutter your home as much as possible – for your own sanity and to make room for all the baby gear you’ll acquire. Paring down unnecessary belongings and furniture is a great way to add some simplicity to your now-very-busy life.

2. Baby-proof your home in stages. You don’t have to do it all at once! To save time and money, childproof your home as your baby shows signs of reaching milestones like rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking. Here’s a great guide from Parents.com.

3. Make the nursery functional. It’s tempting to want to re-create the immaculate nursery designs you see on Pinterest, but my advice is to put function first. Ease and practicality should take precedence over style.  Install window coverings that block out UV rays to help keep the room comfortable and dark during sleep times.

4. Check those smoke detectors. You might not think of this in the hustle and bustle, but testing the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home is extremely important. We have smoke detectors in every room, and a carbon monoxide detector on every level. The U.S. Fire Administration has many resources to help you choose and install these critically important devices.

Have your own tips to share on prepping a home for a new baby’s arrival? Share them below! And if you’re looking for more space for your little addition(s), contact a realtor in Sylvan Lake 403.887.2217, they can help you find the right place.

October 5 2014 – Market Update

Fri, 10 Oct by Dale Russell

The Sylvan Lake market returned to normal in September with active listings down and sales off from August but up from last September.  The sales to listing ratio is back to normal as well, sitting at just over 20% where buyers have a slight advantage. It’s been a great year with sales up more that 23% over last year and it looks like another strong year in store.

When pondering the future of central Alberta, the story remains pretty much the same – strong in-migration from other provinces driven by a strong job market, high wages and low taxes.  In April, May and June of this year, Alberta gained a net 13,204 new people from other parts of the country (the difference between the number of in-migrants less the number of out-migrants). That is the equivalent of Alberta adding another city the size of Camrose to its population in a matter of 3 months.

Part of the reason for our strong economy is that our oil is making its way to market by train.  New markets mean higher prices for producers and more royalties for the government who will be spreading the money around before another provincial election in 2016.