August housing sales see decrease
By: Viola Pruss
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 06:00 am
In the latter part of summer, decreases to sales in the St. Albert housing market are typical though a drop in numbers in August may be related to a limited inventory, rather than a rise in mortgage rates, said a local realtor.
Craig Pilgrim, St. Albert ReMax real estate agent, said changes to interest rates in recent weeks have not visibly impacted the local housing market. August sales have historically been lower because most people moved into a home at the beginning of summer, he said.
“For as long as I’ve been in the business our market has always done that and I believe most of it has to do with just how short our summers are,” he said.
Average sales for single family homes decreased by almost 21 per cent in August, compared to a year earlier, the Realtors Association of Edmonton reported this week in their monthly housing bulletin.
In August, St. Albertans sold 65 single family dwellings, compared to 82 a year earlier. The average selling price for singles was $481,728. A year previous the price was $425,299. The median price for single family homes last month was $426,500.
Condominium sales experienced an increase compared to the same month last year. In August, St. Albertans sold 34 condominiums at an average price of $279,653, compared to 24 condos a year ago at an average of $256,851. Last month, the median price for a condo was $262,000.
In the past weeks, Canadian banks raised their fixed mortgage rates from discounted rates of 2.89 per cent to over 3.69 per cent. While some realtors expect that this will force some people to look at purchasing a home and drive others out of the market, Pilgrim said most of these changes will go unnoticed in St. Albert.
“I suspect we’ll have some changes but we probably won’t see it because activity starts to decline in September and October anyway,” he said. “I may encounter a few buyers who have a greater sense of urgency because they have the pre-approval locked in.”
He added that most of his clients never stress their maximum and often settle for a home they can afford. This year, he said St. Albert had a lower inventory of homes available than usual – though properties sell very quickly – which may explain the decrease in August sales.
Changes are also not expected in the greater Edmonton housing market. In a press release, Darrell Cook, president of the Realtors Association of Edmonton, said that the market will not feel any pressure from increases in mortgage rates although buyers may have to settle for less expensive homes, or higher monthly payments.
“In the short term, any reduction in the number of buyers will be made up by the potential buyers becoming more motivated to buy before their pre-approval period ends,” he said.
In August, the all-residential average price in the Edmonton Metropolitan Census Area was up a quarter of a per cent from last month at $351,455. The average price for a single family detached home was $416,494, up 1.5 per cent from July and 5.4 per cent from a year ago. Condo prices were also up from the previous month by 0.9 per cent at $244,675.