June 15, 2016 – Market Update

Sat, 25 Jun by Dale Russell

Sales in the first half of June in Sylvan were off to a terrific start compared to the same period in May, and almost kept pace with the same period in 2015. The number of active listings is slightly lower than last year at this time, and also down when compared to last month, a sign that the market is moving in the right direction.

We consider the overall central Alberta market to be stable considering the economic situation in Alberta. That stable market can probably be at least partly attributed to the fact that people are staying here rather than leaving, as indicated in the ATB article below. Apparently the job situation in other parts of Canada isn’t good enough to lure them away and they feel there is a future here.

Crude oil prices have fallen below the magical $50 US mark, which may be having some effect on consumer confidence.  We expect them to fluctuate up and down but most economists are predicting a gradual rise over the next few months and improvement in the Alberta economy starting this summer and fall.

Out-migration from Alberta Holding Steady, Todd Hirsch, ATB Economics – During a typical recession in Alberta, it’s common for people to move to other provinces for work. That trend makes what’s happening in the current downturn a bit surprising: so far the number of people leaving Alberta is relatively low.

The graph below shows the last 50 years of out-migration to other provinces, as a percentage of the population. The thin green line shows quarterly outflows that are subject to significant seasonality—people tend to leave mostly in the third and fourth quarters of the year. The heavy green line shows outflow averaged over four quarters, giving a better perspective of the general population movement.

The outflow was quite high during some of the 1960s and 1970s—more than one percent of the province packed up and left. The outflow gradually ebbed lower over the decades, with only a slight bump higher during the nasty recession of the 1980s.

The percentage of Albertans leaving has been remarkably stable since the mid-1990s at around 0.4 per cent per quarter. There was a slight jump in the 2008 recession to around 0.5 per cent. Despite the severity of the current 2015-16 downturn, out-migration from Alberta has risen only slightly above 0.4 per cent—mostly due to the fact that the job market in other parts of the country is not significantly better than it is in Alberta.

Chart Sylvan Lake June

MARKET UPDATE – June 1, 2016

Mon, 13 Jun by Dale Russell

Sylvan Lake sales in May kept pace with April, but remained well below 2015 levels. The number of active listings is up slightly over last month, but unlike most central Alberta markets, slightly lower than last year at this time. The majority of sales activity last month was in the lower price ranges, which is to be expected in this economic environment. There does seem to be adequate choices for buyers in the lower prices, except in the $300,000 ‐ $350,000 range where the sales to listing ratio has moved that part of the market into balance.

There is good news for home sellers moving forward. Oil prices climbed over the $50 US mark last week and this week continue to climb. Falling worldwide production combined with higher demand is forecast to push prices higher in coming months. Many economists are suggesting that the Alberta economy is near bottom and will start to recover going into the second half of the year.

Of course, higher oil prices aren’t necessarily good news for home buyers. Low interest rates and an amply supply of available homes make this a very opportune time for buyers to take advantage of a situation that we don’t normally experience in Alberta, and that likely won’t last ‐ a market where buyers have the advantage.