May 15, 2015 – Market Update

Wed, 20 May by Dale Russell

Sales in the first two weeks of May rebounded strongly from the same period in April and came very close to matching the first two weeks of May 2014, the best year since 2007.  In the meantime, the number of active listings is well up over the same time last year.  Part of the increase in listing count is a result of several builder’s spec homes coming on the market.  Some of it is also the normal spring market when cottage and lake homes start to appear on the market.

All in all, sales are still quite respectable in central Alberta despite what the media portrays.  There are lots of opinions about where our economy is going and they range from negative to positive.  As stated below, optimism will go a long way to helping the economy.  There are lots of reasons to be positive.  Alberta experienced job growth in the first quarter of the year.  People are still moving to Alberta because there are job vacancies that need to be filled.  Low interest rates and stable home prices make home ownership attractive.  Cattle prices are high and exports to the US are bringing valuable US dollars to producers.

We choose to be optimistic that Alberta will not only survive the current energy situation but come out of it stronger and better.

Albertans Feeling More Optimistic About Our Economy – Rob Roach, Senior Analyst ATB Financial – May 15, 2015

Some economists are predicting a recession in Alberta, but the results from ATB Financial’s latest Ear to the Ground Survey show that Albertans are starting to feel more, not less, optimistic about the future state of our economy.

When it comes to how we think we will be doing in six months in two key areas—our personal financial situations and the state of our local economies—we are beginning to feel increasingly confident. Some 43 per cent of Albertans surveyed last week feel that the economy will be stronger in six months compared to just 24 per cent who felt that way in April. This growing confidence is matched when it comes to how many of us are more confident about our own job security and that of those around us. That number is now up from 44 per cent to 56 per cent.

While not everybody has shaken off the economic blues, these results suggest many more Albertans are optimistic about the future than they were just a few weeks ago. This is a good sign because optimism is much more likely to spur economic growth than pessimism. With that said, optimism is cold comfort to those who have lost their jobs or are otherwise struggling during this downturn.


April 30, 2015 – Market Update

Fri, 08 May by Dale Russell

April sales numbers were respectable when compared to the five year average, but not on pace with 2014.  The number of active listings is going up quicker than the number of sales creating another opportunity for buyers to take advantage of good selection, strong seller competition and very low interest rates.  We expect more activity in the cottage and recreational market this summer as fewer people are willing to take their weakened Canadian dollars to a stronger US market.

The rest of central Alberta market (except Blackfalds) is also faring well with strong activity in the low to mid-price ranges and stable active listing levels.  So far we have experienced very little fallout from low energy prices, although it would be foolish to expect there won’t be some before the year is over.  It does appear that most of the layoffs have already happened and many oil companies are in good enough financial shape to keep working even with lower prices.

Oil prices have recovered back to the mid to high $50 range but most experts aren’t predicting prices over $60 until next year.  While world demand for oil is increasing, storage supplies are still growing and there are thousands of already drilled wells in the US just waiting for the prices to go up before fracking.  There is concern that once prices to up, that supply will very quickly come on the market and drive prices down again.