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St. Albert home prices dipped in 2023, but 2024 looks busy

Benchmark price for detached, single-family home drops $6,000 from 2022
A draft report on housing diversity in St. Albert looks at gaps in affordability

The average cost of a single-detached home in St. Albert dropped by roughly $6,000 from 2022 to 2023, but local real estate agents say that 2024’s market is looking hot.

In 2022, the benchmark price of a detached, single-family home in St. Albert was $540,996. That number declined to $534,724 last year, or about 1.2 per cent, according to data from the Realtors Association of Edmonton.

By comparison, Edmonton’s annual benchmark price dropped by 4.2 per cent ($16,208) in 2023, whereas Calgary’s rose by 5.7 per cent ($29,333). Across Canada, housing prices trended downward in the last four months of 2023, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

2022 was an unusual year, said St. Albert realtor Brian Cyr.

“We got this real surge in demand for houses that really nobody was expecting,” he said.

Part of the surge was, surprisingly, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. As more people began working and studying from home, customers’ desires for living accommodations changed, prompting them to move.

“In 2022, everybody kind of knew that interest rates were going to be starting to climb,” Cyr said. Then the clock started ticking for homebuyers hoping to secure locked-in, low interest rates.

“That really created the demand that we saw in 2022, starting in about probably January, which ran till about August, the peak of which would be, April, May and June.”

The flurry of activity created “a vacuum in the market” in 2023, Cyr said, as homebuyers adjusted to a new reality of higher interest rates.

“Everyone just took a breath, and the market certainly cooled in '23,” he said. “But '23 was still a good market.”  

It’s just that 2022 was like a “pig passing through a python,” a hump of madness slowly working its way through the market.

Buyers have been quick to adapt to higher interest rates, said Cyr, noting current rates are relatively low in comparison to the historical highs of the 1980s, which saw numbers reach over 20 per cent.

And, anecdotally, 2024 has been off to a frenzied start, he said.

“I always measure the year by how busy we are in January,” he said. “I can tell you that January has been very busy. There’s been lots of traffic, lots of showing requests. We’ve managed to sell quite a few homes in January already.”

This January was also busier than January 2023 for St. Albert agent Nicole Toshack.  

Toshack said the biggest problem currently facing St. Albert’s real estate market is a housing inventory shortage.

“We’ve got tons of buyers out there wanting to buy, but nothing to purchase,” she said. “I think people have been waiting and waiting and waiting … If it’s priced right, it’s going really quickly, and we’re dealing with multiple offers in the last couple weeks.”

Inventory under the $400,000 mark is “very minimal,” and gets scooped up quickly.

“We're just dealing with pent-up energy,” she said. “Buyers have been waiting for the interest rates to come down, and I think a lot of people just don't really want to wait any longer.”

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