Oil is down but is there still investor opportunity in Alberta?

The Alberta housing market is already feeling the impact of the historic drop in oil prices – but experts say this could suggest an opportunity for investors.

“This adjustment is likely going to create opportunities out west,” said Phil Wazonek of Distinctive Realty Services in Calgary. “From a business perspective, this is a really good opportunity.

“If you’ve got money in the bank, you should be perking your ears up at the very least. The market cycle suggests we’re going into a buying opportunity.”

Duane Ritter, a real estate agent at RE/MAX in Edmonton, added: “It’s an interesting time in Alberta and the world in general, with the oil prices and the effect of the lower prices. The question everyone is asking is: How low? And how long the lower prices are going to go on?”

On January 4, oil prices dropped below $50 a barrel for the first time in five years. Housing figures subsequently released in Alberta demonstrated the impact of this historical drop.

Statistics from the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) showed that, while new listings and active listings were up in January 2015, compared to January 2014, total sales were down, as were average prices.

The average home price in Calgary is $438,675 this month, compared to $469,882 in January 2014. The figures for 2015 so far are in contrast with the trend in December 2014, when new listings and average home prices were up. Last year finished with average prices at $475,036.

“Changes in the economic climate are expected to cool housing market conditions in 2015, and December activity may be the first indication of this shift,” said CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“However, any pullback that may occur needs to be kept in perspective as 2014 housing activity far exceeded our expectations.”

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