Business Briefs

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Buyers are cautiously watching the real estate market, as indicated by the number of homes currently on the market and the number of days it is taking for them to sell.

Edmonton’s housing inventory is up 39.2 per cent over this time last year, with 5,751 properties on the market. That’s a 13-per-cent increase over December 2015.

The average days on the market are also up, indicating that buyers are taking the time to consider their options, according to a Realtors Association of Edmonton press release. On average a property took 71 days to sell in January, up from 62 in December and 58 in January 2015.

Sales are down in the Edmonton region, as well as in St. Albert.

In St. Albert, single-family home sales were down 44.4 per cent over this time last year, with 20 properties selling in the first month of 2016. Condos were down 18.2 per cent with only nine sold in January.

Prices also dropped, with the average single-family home selling for $416,953, a 10.7 per cent decrease from January 2015, and condos taking a 12.2 per cent hit selling for an average of $240,900.

A sign directing customers to a nearby location had Smitty’s patrons wondering what happened to their favourite family restaurant.

The Smitty’s in St. Albert Centre officially closed its doors on Jan. 24.

The restaurant is moving out as plans for redevelopment of the shopping centre begins. General manager Jillian Creech confirmed that the Smitty’s and former Sports Check locations are part of the redesign that will see the introduction of 12 to 15 new stores, as well as a new common area, added to the northwest portion of the mall.

Owner Rob Sroka indicated that the chain was currently looking for a new space in St. Albert, but for the time being patrons will have to travel to one of its other Edmonton locations for their Smitty’s fix.

Those looking for a full-service restaurant while shopping can stop by Cora’s, which should be operational by March.

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Michelle Ferguson