Oil prices wreaking havoc on another Canadian city

The impact of the oil price slump, and subsequent drop in home sales, have hit another Canadian city hard, according to new MLS figures.

The figures, for January 2014, show a 13.5 per cent dip in Edmonton house sales month-over-month compared to the same period last year.

“We are likely seeing the effects of oil prices and a feeling of economic cautiousness among some buyers,” said Geneva Tetreault, president of the Realtors Association of Edmonton.

“[Investors] are looking to Realtors for advice and guidance to navigate their own individual situations. We expect more of an uptake in the market as spring approaches and more people start to look for homes. Low interest rates will continue to drive the housing market."

The report also cited that inventory was up 35 per cent, from 3,059 to 4,132, compared to this time last month. It is also up 17 per cent from the same time last year.

These numbers are being seen as a positive for investors and buyers. "We ended 2014 with low inventory,” said Tetreault.

“While this is not unusual for the winter, it can make it difficult for buyers to find the right home. The influx of properties we have seen on the market in January will be a relief for buyers, allowing them more choice in their price range and possibly more time to make their selection."

Despite the outlook, prices are still strong. Residential house prices grew almost one per cent from last month to $362,394, up 3.75 per cent from January 2014.

Single-family houses priced at an average of $427,178, down half a per cent from December, but up more than three per cent on the previous year. Condo prices remained stable at $247,116, up 5.5 per cent from January 2014.

“We are continuing to see last year's trend of high-priced properties elevating the average prices,” added Tetreault. “Last month, nine of the 666 properties sold for more than $900,000.”

For the latest data on median house prices, monthly growth and stock on the market, visit the CREW website to access the Investment Hotspot tool.

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