Single family sales slump slightly in November

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Single family sales have slumped in St. Albert, according to the latest report released by the Realtors Association of Edmonton.

In November, 43 single family homes  were sold, a drop from 52 sales this time last year. Condo sales stayed the same, with 13 condos sold both this year and November last year.

Price points for single family homes also dropped slightly from an average of $392,809 in November last year to an average of $371,175 this year.

The price for condos increased in November compared to last year. The average price for a condo jumped to $258,054, a slight increase from $232,923 in 2016.

There are currently 214 single family homes for sale and 114 condominiums for sale in St. Albert.

James Mabey, chairman of the Realtors Association of Edmonton and realtor with Century 21 Masters, said even though numbers are slightly down from last year, November was still a strong month.

“It was a pretty good November considering how the year has been. We had a fairly busy month in terms of sales, it was almost as busy as it was in October. That’s not generally what we get for this time of year,” he said.

In comparison, Edmonton had strong sales in November. The capital region boasted an increase of 12.42 per cent year-over-year across all residential housing.

Single family homes were up 9.86 per cent, while condo sales jumped by 18.32 per cent. Duplex and row-house sales increased by 4.27 per cent, compared to November last year.

Mabey said the increase in sales is partially due to new restrictive mortgage rules taking effect in the new year.

The rules require uninsured mortgages – homebuyers who have put a downpayment of 20 per cent or more – pass a “stress test” reserved for high-ratio or insured mortgages.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial institutions (OSFI) introduced the new rules, aimed at making sure people can afford homes even if interest rates increase.

As an example, for those who have their mortgage approved and are only charged an interest rate of three per cent by the lender, the OSFI wants to make sure that the buyer could still afford their mortgage if interest rates increase to five per cent.

In order to avoid the restrictions, Mabey said people are deciding to buy now.

“For a lot of people that were looking to spend a little bit more on the top end of what they were qualified for are possibly trying to get into the market now, as opposed to waiting till January.”

The new borrowing restrictions are likely to impact those wanting to move into a nicer home. Mabey said St. Albert could be impacted more than other communities as a result.

“This is a smaller group of people who are buying more mid-range or expensive homes,” he said. “Which in St. Albert is a fair chunk of the market. St. Albert is not an inexpensive place to buy, so a lot of people buying in that market, it’s not their first home and they are in a move-up market.”

Even though year-to-year sales have increased in Edmonton, month-to-month sales tell a slightly different story. Compared to October, single family housing dropped by 17.93 per cent, while condo sales slumped by .92 per cent and duplex/row house decreased by 14.69 per cent.

Mabey said the drop in sales is hardly significant for this time of year. Sales across all residential housing typically decreases in the winter, as people are less likely to move during the holidays.

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Dayla Lahring

Dayla Lahring joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2017. She writes about business, health, general news and features. She also contributes photographs.