January 20, 2016- Market Update

Wed, 20 Jan by Dale Russell

Market Update– A strong start to the year in Sylvan Lake after a slow December.  The number of pending sales suggests that the month could end strong as well.  The active listing count is higher than it was a year ago, but not high enough to be a big concern.

raction in Alberta’s GDP of about one percent last year.  Unfortunately, early 2016 holds little promise of a quick rebound.  Excess global supply form OPEC producers, coupled with uncertainty in China, Europe and the Middle East, continues to weigh on oil prices.  This has led to even greater stress on the balance sheets of the province’s energy producers as they struggle to reduce costs.  Natural gas prices continue mostly unchanged in a price range unsupportive of new investment or production.

                The strains in the oil patch are also weighing down industries peripheral to petroleum extraction, particularly manufacturing and construction.  As well, weaker consumer sentiment has resulted in reduced retail trade and residential housing construction.  All of this has resulted in an overall deterioration in the job market.

                As always, though, there remain pockets of optimism.  Agriculture, forestry, tourism – which are the province’s other major industries – continue to perform well.  Prospects for 2016 are positive, particularly with the weak Canadian dollar making commodity exports more attractive, and encouraging more U.S. tourism.

                The Economics and Research team at ATB Financial is estimating a GDP contraction of 1 percent in 2015, with a smaller contraction 0.5 percent in 2016.  Most of the economic stress on the economy and labour market are expected in the first half of the year.  Stability and even some return to modest growth is still anticipated by the end of the year.


Jan SL Stat


January 1, 2016- Market Update

Tue, 05 Jan by Dale Russell

Market Update- Sales in Sylvan Lake in December were the slowest in recent memory, however we are starting the new year with 6 pending sales, a sign that January should be better. The number of active listings is higher than is was a year ago, but not high enough to be a big concern. Total sales for the year were down 27% from 2014, but higher that the totals in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and only slightly lower than the total for 2012.

So, while things look a little grim based on the last quarter, the real estate market in 2015 was more robust than the media would have you believe. The truth is, Alberta’s population still grew in 2015 and there were still jobs created here. They weren’t the high paying jobs the energy industry used to generate, but certainly eased the pain a little. In the meantime, other Alberta industries benefitted from the low Canadian dollar and low energy costs. Transportation companies, airlines, logging, tourism and the public in general were all beneficiaries of low energy costs.

Unlike 2008, the rest of the world economy is moving along fairly well. There is no doubt that there will be some pain in Alberta from our current situation, but it would be foolish to assume that the sky is falling. As always, we will survive and come our stronger and better equipped to manage the next one.