Home prices up just one per cent in first nine months
By: Susan Jones
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 06, 2012 06:00 am
Stability has been the key word in the St. Albert real estate market in the first nine months of 2012.
Home selling prices haven’t changed much and the number of listings has stabilized, forcing serious sellers to be more careful with their pricing, say local realtors.
From January to September the selling price of local single-family dwellings rose just 1.37 per cent while the average selling price for condominiums rose .07 per cent.
Despite that modest increase over nine months, the average September selling price of single family dwelling in St. Albert leapt to $496,000, up $82,000 from the same month a year ago and up considerably from the average August selling price of $427,000. The blip was caused because of a few higher end properties, which sold during the month of September.
“In St. Albert we had two sales over one million dollars and a few higher-end properties sold in the $700,000 to $800,000 range. Those sales skewed the averages somewhat,” said Re/Max realtor Mark Cassidy.
Throughout the metropolitan area buyers had fewer homes to choose from last month with nearly 7,000 Edmonton-area listings compared to 8,000 one year ago. Throughout the region, the average number of days on the market was 55. Presently there are 272 active listings in St. Albert.
“There is more activity in the more affordable price range, but overall prices are flat and since August, one third of St. Albert properties have had a price adjustment with their prices lowered,” Cassidy said, adding that he believes the market still favours the purchaser.
“The ratio of sales to listings is six to one. So for every six homes on the market, there is one sale. For the market to be balanced, the ratio is more like four or five listings to each sale,” he said.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s new qualification rules became effective in June, which had an impact on the market, especially for entry-level homes.
So far this year 180 condos have sold in St. Albert compared to 220 in the previous year.
“The restrictions on amortization were announced in March but didn’t come into effect until June. Those looking (to buy) after June found they didn’t qualify and were squeezed out of qualifying,” said Jon Hall, spokesperson for the Realtors Association of Edmonton.
He also noted that condominium prices haven’t wavered.
The average September selling price for a St. Albert condominium was $263,000, exactly the same as it was in the same month one year ago. The year-to-date condo average selling price was $257,000.
Homeowners are finding that their properties need to be carefully priced if they want to be competitive and need a quick sale.
“If houses are priced well, they are selling close to list,” said Shirley Williams, broker/owner for Royal LePage.
Re/Max realtor Sharon Ryan agreed, as she pointed out that the Internet has made both buyers and sellers savvy about real estate prices.
“Buyers are very price sensitive. If you list your house $10,000 over (other similar homes) the buyers know. The average house is selling at 97.5 per cent of list price,” Ryan said.