February 15 2015 – Market Update

Tue, 24 Feb by Dale Russell

Sylvan Lake Market Update – very strong sales in the first two weeks of February, keeping pace with last year and a huge improvement over the same time last month.  The number of active listings took a big jump in the few weeks, but is really just about right for the amount of sales activity we are experiencing.  A balanced market is great for both buyers and sellers and that’s where we are at in Sylvan at the moment.

In most central Alberta markets, sales have slowed from last year while the active listing count is up.  It’s only normal that some buyers are holding off, waiting until they are sure their jobs are secure and for some indication where the market is going in the longer term.  Unfortunately some irresponsible comments by the media and our provincial government about the length of the downturn and the size of the budget shortfall are causing more damage than the economy itself.

Read carefully and it’s obvious that a lot of the jobs cut by major energy producers are not all in Alberta and the ones that are here are mostly contractors.  Many of those contractors will be able to fill some of those vacant positions that have been unfilled in the past.  Only 25% of Alberta’s economy is derived from energy and not all the jobs are going away.

SL February 15 2015

New ATB Poll finds: Albertans are keeping calm and moving on – Nick Ford – ATB

From newspapers to TV screens, there’s been heavy coverage of Alberta’s current and future economic landscape. Politicians, journalists and economists have all weighed in but how do Albertans feel about the current state of the economy? ATB Financial asked this question and others to gauge consumer sentiment in its brand new bi-weekly Ear to the Ground poll.

Despite news of oil’s price struggles and a weakened loonie, 45 per cent of the survey respondents view the current Alberta economy as strong with 27 per cent of respondents perceiving our economy as weak. There are signs of worry amongst Albertans however.  Over a third of Albertans anticipate that the economy will be weaker six months from now compared to about a quarter who believe it will be stronger.

Additionally, close to 40 per cent of Albertans express intent to delay major purchases such as a house or car. And, 45 per cent are reconsidering travel plans. In general, Albertans are waiting for the dust to settle before deciding to make any large-scale purchases. This is likely tied to market uncertainty and the concern the economy might weaken in the next six months.

In general, Albertans are relatively optimistic about our economy. The latest retail sales numbers indicate that spending is still well above where it was two years ago (see chart below). For now, Albertans will continue to trudge through the flurry of economic news stories.

ATB Financial’s most recent forecast projects that Alberta’s economy will grow by two per cent in 2015.

February 5 2015 – Market Update

Thu, 05 Feb by Dale Russell

Sylvan Lake January sales were off dramatically from last January, but it’s not a bad as it looks. We are starting out a month with a good number of pending sales that should translate into a stronger February. A slower start to the year is normal for Sylvan Lake where more sales happen in the spring and summer. The number of active listings is well down from last year and bodes well going into a bit slower market.

The media is mostly full of doom and gloom about our economy, but there are a few positive tidbits mixed in if you look for them. Oil prices rebounded a little this week and the dollar with it. Oil futures for May are trading at much higher prices than we are currently seeing. And the news that oil companies are shutting down drilling means the production will slow. The price of oil is driven by supply and demand. When the price goes down, demand will increase in supply will decrease. As demand increases and supply decreases, price will find its balance. In the past, OPEC has artificially managed supply to keep prices high, but it appears they are willing to do that anymore. The imbalance is currently only about one – 1.5% of total consumption. It won’t require much increase in demand or decrease of supply to bring the market back in the balance.