Slower sales spur correction talk

If you’re looking for a quick sale in Edmonton this spring, you might need to lower your asking price – but there is fear of a market correction, say experts.

“It’s slower but there isn’t much need for a correction,” said Sherilynn Milson, an investor and owner of QDHomeQuest.

“If people need to sell fairly quickly, it’s likely they will have to reduce their price. It’s a challenging market right now if you’re trying to sell, because nothing is moving very quickly. The prices haven’t really decreased that much, but the market is soft right now.”

According to CREA’s latest figures, which were published last week, sales in Edmonton were down only slightly year-over-year – 1,856 units in April 2015 compared to 2,161 in April 2014.

But the average home price experienced a year-over-year percentage rise of 3.3 per cent. The average price was $373,903 in April 2015 compared to $361,110 in April 2014.

And with the falling oil prices dictating the ebbs and flows of the Alberta market, it is certainly one that investors should keep an eye on.

“We started investing [in Alberta] a number of years ago,” said Peter Cheung, founding partner, president and CEO of Alture Properties. “We’re still very confident of the marketplace, the dynamics of it; but oil prices are a big headline these days, so we just have to pay attention to it.”

In Calgary, where the free-falling oil prices have been felt much more than in Edmonton, sales were down 31 per cent year-over-year, according to the CREA. The average house price has also fallen slightly, from $457,509 in April 2014 to $450,713 in April 2015.

But Milsom says the Edmonton market didn’t have as much space as Calgary did for a correction. “In Edmonton, we didn’t have the large increases that Calgary had last year,” she added.

“Last year, Calgary’s increase was almost 10 per cent, and ours was around five per cent … it was substantially lower than Calgary’s yearly increase. It’s a lot more noticeable [in Calgary] that prices have decreased.”

In the meantime, investors and developers haven’t seen a significant impact on their projects. “Our projects haven’t seen any effects,” added Cheung. “We have a project that is close to being completely sold. We may even put the price up a little bit.

“But it depends on what stage of the project you’re on and what type of project it is. I hear some higher-end projects are facing a lot of resistance in terms of the price. But most of our projects are still on the upbeat.”

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