Edmonton Realtors stay optimistic for spring despite slipping prices, sales

The Realtors Association of Edmonton said the average residential price was $327,725 in March, down 4.6% from a year before. Sales were down 10.3% in the first quarter from a year before, with 3,479 sales through March.

But the association said the downward trend had more to do with “external factors,” such as the threat of mortgage rate increases last year, and a change to mortgage qualification rules that accelerated sales in the first quarter of 2010, resulting in a sales slump afterwards.

Real Estate Association of Edmonton President Chris Mooney said sales numbers will bounce back this spring.

“All the fundamentals for this market are positive,” he said. “There is job stability, low unemployment, income growth and in-migration.”

Mooney also expects prices to rise again through the spring. The average residential price was already up 4.8% from a month earlier.

Condos have been lagging behind in price compared to houses, however. From February, detached homes were up 5.8%, compared to a 0.8% rise in condos.

The average price of a detached home in Edmonton in March was $378,912, still down 2.6% from a year earlier.

The average price of a condo was $232,706, down 7.5% from March 2010.

“We are already seeing strong sales in the lower end of the market, but tighter mortgage qualification rules have slowed sales in the upper end,” said Mooney.

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