Edmonton’s employment prospects might boost condo market

by Ephraim Vecina10 Jun 2019

Robust employment growth might be just what the Edmonton condo apartment sector needs, as it has been struggling heavily since 2018.

Indeed, official figures placed Edmonton’s employment growth at nearly double on an annual basis during the start of 2019, with around 34,000 new jobs compared to the 19,000 back in January 2018.

Unemployment also fell to 6.4% (from 7.1% in January 2018), a trend that bodes well for the city’s future purchasing power.

Still, it will be a tough uphill climb for the beleaguered market: Altus Group reported in its latest Housing Report that Edmonton suffered a massive 48% annual decrease in its condo sales activity last year, and has yet to fully recover.

“This year, for Edmonton sales, there has been very little activity,” according to Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group executive vice-president of real estate research consulting services for data solutions.

“Edmonton was definitely down more than Calgary last year,” she told the Edmonton Journal, noting that the latter market’s sales dropped by only 9%.

“For both, 2016 was the bottom, and then both got better in 2017. Edmonton came back a bit more strongly than Calgary in 2017, but conversely 2018 was not as good for Edmonton as it was for Calgary.”

More importantly, sales weakness in the asset class so far this year has not been limited to Edmonton, except possibly in Montreal.

“It puts in perspective that [Albertans] are not alone in terms of things not being great at the moment,” Arsenault stated. “Other markets were down last year for condo apartments.”

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