It’s a buyer’s market out there in St. Albert’s real estate sector as the inventory of pre-owned homes nears record levels.
“There’s an awful lot to pick from and people can be fairly particular,” said St. Albert realtor-broker James Mabey.
There are currently 321 single-family homes on the market in St. Albert, just seven per cent below the 344 listed during a record-setting period in September 2007.
A year ago there were 190 single-family homes listed. Condominium listings are remaining more constant, currently at 133.
Sales activity was down 34 per cent in June, compared to the same month last year, show figures released by the Realtors Association of Edmonton.
The first four months of the year brought brisk activity in real estate. Mabey and others in the real estate business believe new mortgage rules and rising rates prompted the early arrival of the seasonal peak. Now the summer lull seems to have kicked in early as well, Mabey said.
“It’s been pretty quiet. I think people have turned their minds to holidays and the splash park in Woodlands rather than buying and selling houses.”
Mabey noted that sales levels are fairly even on the year so far.
The average sale price in June was $437,000 for a single-family home, up 2.9 per cent over last year and 276,000 for a condominium, up 19 per cent from 2009.
Even with sales slowing down and inventories rising, prices aren’t coming down too much, as many potential sellers aren’t that anxious to sell unless they can get what they want, Mabey said.
“We’re anticipating that the prices will soften slightly towards the latter half of the year, which is fairly typical,” he said.
Inventory levels within the Capital region overall are just five per cent below the peaks of September 2007.
Realtors throughout the region are reporting normal activity in showings and open houses but this isn’t translating into sales, said Larry Westergard, president of the Realtors Association of Edmonton.
Westergard believes some potential buyers are hesitating to pull the trigger on a sale because of global economic uncertainty.
“A lot of people have to realize that Alberta isn’t the United States or it isn’t Europe. A lot of things that impact those markets don’t have as big an impact here in Alberta,” he said.
“We have some insulation moving forward and your housing decisions can’t solely be based on what’s happening internationally.”