The housing market in St. Albert is inching slightly ahead of the Edmonton metro region.
According to the latest Realtors Association of Edmonton report, St. Albert has sold 922 homes so far this year, an increase of 7.2 per cent compared to this time last year.
Year over year, housing sales across the metro region dropped by 4.2 per cent.
In St. Albert, overall sales increased by 2.6 per cent. Condo sales jumped by 76.9 per cent compared to last October, while single family sales dropped by 12.5 per cent.
Looking at cost, the average price of a condo decreased by 14 per cent to $271,054, while the average price for a single-family house increased 3.2 per cent to $473,652.
While lower prices could explain why more condos are selling, Darcy Torhjelm, chair of the Realtors Association of Edmonton, said the average price could be dictated by a number of factors.
Cheaper condos, for example, could be selling over more expensive ones, driving down the average price recorded in the report. Comparatively, this past month could have seen more expensive single-family properties sell, which would spike up the average price for that housing category.
“Our average price overall for the whole Edmonton market is down,” he noted.
Houses are also staying on the market longer. This October, houses remained on the market for an average of 62 days, a week longer than last year.
While the housing market typically slows throughout the fall and winter, the economy is also playing a part, Torhjelm explained: with the oil and gas industry still suffering, people want things to change before they commit to buying.
“For a lot of people, I think they believe that we need a change in politics. Whether that helps or not, I don’t know,” he said. “That’s what I keep hearing. I think they need some positive things to see happen, like the pipeline.”
James Mabey, a broker and realtor in St. Albert for Century 21 Masters, agrees. Some homeowners have removed their homes from being listed, which has eased some of the pressure being applied to the market. But those looking to buy homes are still not feeling confident enough.
“There aren’t enough buyers entering into the market,” he explained. “I think that’s stemming partly from a lack of consumer confidence right now.
“People are getting back to work, we’re starting to see economic indicators improve a little bit. But at the same time, it’s not necessarily translating into people feeling comfortable making big purchase decisions.”
Mabey said St. Albert has had a few higher-end houses sell, pushing the local market ahead of Edmonton’s.
In Edmonton, year-over-year sales have dropped by 5.5 per cent, while inventory on the market has increased by 8 per cent.