Brighter future for home sales predicted, officials say

Local real estate officials are confident of brighter days ahead in the Central Alberta housing market.

Patrick Galesloot, president of the Central Alberta Realtors Association, said he’s noticed heightened optimism amongst buyers, sellers and realtors in the past while.

“It’s going to be a stronger year.”

Less inventory and increased demand for homes also points to a stronger market in 2011, he said. Galesloot predicts growth of 3 to 4% in sales this year.

“I am confident the worst is behind us as far as the decline in sale prices, and I believe there is increasing confidence in the real estate sector by buyers and sellers,” he said, adding that 2010 sales volumes were much lower than expected.

Total MLS residential sales for 2010 was 22.55% lower than in 2009 when 3,684 residential properties were sold via MLS.

“It’s no secret that in 2010 it was difficult to sell your home,” he said. “But for buyers, 2010 was a great year – they had lots to choose from, and they could negotiate those terms favourably.”

Galesloot said the average selling price last year remained relatively stable. “Most buyers bought within the $300,000 to $350,000 range. “The average purchase price in 2010 was $343,759.

“There were also times throughout the year when there were more residential listings on the market then we saw in 2009 when we were at the peak of the recession.”

But things started to turn around last fall when there were fewer listings and residential sales increased, he said.

Another interesting note about 2010 was that there were more homes sold in the $500,000 plus range than in previous years, he said.

“Having a home sell for $1 million in Red Deer is not something new,” he said. “In fact, it’s happening more and more frequently. Five homes sold within the $1 million price range in Red Deer in 2010.”

It’s a positive sign for the industry overall, he said.

This is an indicator of a stronger and recovering economy in the Red Deer and Central Alberta region.”

Meanwhile, as to 2011, a decreased listings inventory combined with the increased demand for homes points to a stronger market, said Galesloot.

“The growth in the real estate market experienced by realtors should strengthen during the second and third quarter of 2011,” said Galesloot. “I predict that is when realtors will start to see the results of what kind of year 2011 will end up being.”

Not that Galesloot is expecting a return to the selling frenzy of four to five years ago.

“I believe we are still in transition. And I would like to point out that the growth witnessed in 2006 and 2007 was outside of the norm.”

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