Have we turned the tide in consumer confidence?

It’s been a very tumultuous year for the real estate and new home markets, optimism was rampant at the beginning then questioned in the middle and towards the end we find ourselves somewhere in between.

The reality is we are in a buyer’s market, meaning that opportunity rests on the shoulders of those that have prepared themselves to buy their new home or upgrade their new home. Sellers are facing reality with regards to their home values, realizing that their house too has actually dropped a little in value from the highs of 2007, but there’s something funny going on out there, especially in Alberta.

Cory Kaun, co-owner of Larkaun Homes, specializes in building houses in the middle to upper price range of houses. “Our clients’ optimism is at its highest since 2008 and thus has provided us with the best year we’ve ever had in our seven-year existence. Our clients typically have to sell a home to upgrade to one of ours, but they don’t seem to be stressed over selling their existing one, which tells me that they are confident in their financial positions and ready for the next phase of their life. Housing and building costs are low right now, especially on the interest rate side. I have clients that are upgrading to a $400,000 home and have the same payment as the house they just sold for $300,000.”

The Alberta home owner, like many in Canada, have felt some drastic shifts in the past few years, but we are more fortunate than most as we are gaining in many areas of our economy. Interestingly, if Alberta was its own country, we’d be tied for tenth in the world for GDP growth for those that reported their third quarter growth results. Looking at the list, we have essentially only been beat out by a few developing nations in Asia and a couple of countries from the old Russian block.

With all this positive news about Alberta seemingly kept secret from media outlets, consumer confidence is all over the map.

“Let’s face it, if you aren’t confident in your financial position then you aren’t going to be buying a home, and that’s no different than any other time in history. This year there’s been months that we couldn’t keep up with demand and other months where we were trying to figure out how to replicate those extremely busy times,” stated Kevin Lapp, one of Central Alberta’s top realtors. He went on to say, “Due to the strength of the oil and gas sector, 2012 should bring with it a more stable and confident consumer that will create a more balanced housing market, which will increase your home values.”

As home buying consumers wane through the mess of information quickly available to them, it seems for the moment – maybe a pre-Christmas rush – many are taking the opportunity and making offers. It’s not just first time buyer’s entering the market, consumers are also upgrading their homes, so maybe the consumer confidence tides have turned or maybe it is just another one of those months where we are flying by the seat of our pants.

Jean-Guy Turcotte is an Accredited Mortgage Professional with Dominion Lending Centres-Regional Mortgage Group and can be reached for appointments or questions at 403-343-1125, texted to 403-391-2552 or emailed to jturcotte@regionalmortgage.ca.