April 20, 2016- Market Update

Thu, 21 Apr by Dale Russell

Market Update- Sylvan Lake We’re off to a slightly better start to the month in April than we were in March, while the number of active listings took a big jump and is now back to 2015 levels.  The listing count in Sylvan Lake typically moves up at this time of year as cottage and lake listings come back on the market for spring.  The biggest jump this month came in the $250,000 – $300,000 range.


The overall central Alberta market is also behaving the way we would expect.  Sales are generally slightly lower and the listing count is higher, creating an imbalance and finally an advantage for buyers.  And it appears that buyers are taking advantage based on the number of pending sales at the middle of the month.


There is no question this is the right time to be looking to purchase your first home or make a move up.  The stars of low interest rates, many homes to choose from and a stable price environment are lining up to create an exceptional opportunity.  Those who wait for the exact bottom of the market may wistfully look back at this time and wonder why they didn’t see the opportunity.


Employment surges higher in March – Todd Hirsch, ATB Economics


Had this morning’s jobs report come one week earlier, it would clearly have appeared to be an April Fool’s Day joke, especially given the province’s current economic woes. But according to the latest Labour Force Survey, a whopping 19,000 jobs were added in March—the highest monthly advance in employment in over two years.

With the gain in employment, the province’s unemployment rate plunged from 7.9 per cent in February down to 7.1 per cent in March—matching the national average for the month.

The news gets even better—and more surprising. Of the 18,900 new jobs, the vast majority of them (14,500) were full-time positions. And the sector that had been losing thousands of positions—the resource sector—actually eked out a small gain in total employment for the month. The only sector that continued to suffer major job losses was manufacturing (-7,900).

It is difficult to explain the surprising advance in Alberta’s job market, particularly since there has been nothing else to suggest that the economy is showing signs of recovery. The only way to understand the data is to remember that the jobs report is survey research—it provides only an estimate. From month to month those estimates may undershoot or overshoot, and it’s dangerous to read too much into one single month. Taking a longer time perspective, Alberta’s job market is less surprising—fewer people are working than a year ago, especially in oil and gas.


Today’s job report was encouraging, but it’s still far too soon to call the downturn over.


Sylvan Lake April

April 1, 2016- Market Update

Thu, 07 Apr by Dale Russell

Market Update- Sylvan Lake sales in March were much improved over February’s, but still well behind last March.  Year to date sales are now down 18.3%. The number of active listings is up substantially which is normal for this time of year.  The spike in the number of listings has kept the market well into buyer’s territory. There haven’t been many times in the past few years where the buyer has had the advantage and with the extra punch provided by low interest rates along with more choices, it truly is a great time to buy.

No one can predict where the bottom of a price cycle is exactly, but some firming of oil prices recently could be an indication that the bottom is not far off.  Smart buyers move when others are still trying to decide what to do.

Unfortunately, the media is currently very focused on Alberta’ embattled energy industry while we know that other economic drivers in the province are doing quite well.  Agriculture is one that continues to have a large impact on the central Alberta economy. According to a recent article by ATB economist Nick Ford, “The latest revenue and expense data on farms reveal a resistant and formidable sector that some Albertans may forget about.  And yet without our province’s agriculture sector, it’s likely the blow of low energy prices would be felt more.”