September 30, 2016 – Market Update

Thu, 06 Oct by Dale Russell

Sales in Sylvan Lake in September kept pace with July and August’s, a sign that there is optimism in the residential market.  The number of active listings dropped which typically happens in September as vacation properties come off the market for the winter.  The number of active listings is slightly lower than it was a year ago, a sign that inventories are holding steady.

Year to date sales in Sylvan Lake are down almost 28% when compared with the same time last year.  That is the highest percentage drop in the central Alberta markets we serve.  Part of the reason may be that Sylvan Lake has historically been an alternative option to Red Deer when supplies get tight there.  In the past several months, there has been ample supply in Red Deer at competitive prices, making the commute to Sylvan as less attractive alternative.

There are positive signs for energy prices in the months to come. OPEC has finally made an effort to work to manage oil supply suggesting that higher prices may be in the future. Oil prices over the $50US mark would definitely help some of our struggling oil companies while bolstering consumer confidence.  Recent activity in the central Alberta real estate market seems to support that idea.


September 15, 2016 – Market Update

Thu, 06 Oct by Dale Russell

Sales in the first two weeks of September are up slightly compared to the same time in August, but well behind the same time a year ago.  The number of active listings is down from last month and only slightly higher than they were a year ago, suggesting we are heading in the right direction when it comes to balancing supply and demand.

The most active price range again was between $350,000 and $400,000 although there was activity across the price spectrum, even two sales in the $1,000,000+ price range.  It is an encouraging sign that there is still confidence in the local market when people are investing large amounts into recreation properties at the lake.

A sign of confidence in the Alberta housing market is evidenced in the article below.  Albertans are spending money at a record pace, renovating their existing homes even if they aren’t buying new homes.

Home renovations holding up well Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist, Alberta Treasury Branches

As THE OWL reported yesterday, the slow economy may be wearing on new housing starts in Alberta.  But it doesn’t seem to be tempering the enthusiasm for renovating existing homes.  In fact, the most recent numbers suggest spending on residential renovations are near an all-time high.

In the second quarter of the year, home owners spent $1.56 billion on expansions or improvements to their properties.  The data include renovations on primary residence as well as cottages or recreational properties.  And because the survey captures only major renovations (i.e., those which must be done with a municipal building permit) it probably underestimates the total value of renovations—minor, unreported renovations such as new flooring, paint or lighting are not captured.

Renovation spending in the second quarter would, in fact, be a new record high if it was not for the spending that was registered in late 2013 and early 2014.  The renovation spending during these quarters were elevated by the southern Alberta flood in June of 2013 when millions of dollars were spent restoring houses that were devastated by the rising water.

The recent enthusiasm for renovation is a good sign that many Albertans are still investing money in their homes.  They may not be snapping up new properties to the same extent as they were a few years ago.  But they’re still finding the cash to put into their existing properties, creating homes and cottages that are larger, more modern and perhaps more energy efficient.atb-graph