Tracey Christensen, president of the Central Alberta Realtors Association, recently reported on the 2011 market and the forecast for 2012.
Overall, Christensen said there was an increase in 2011 of 22% in residential sales. Apartment sales increased 26%, town homes 39% and half-duplexes 12%.
The average selling price of a house was decreased by 3.76% to $332,500 from $345,545 in 2010.
Surrounding areas also saw change including 41% more single-family homes sold in Blackfalds and 49% more in Ponoka.
“In summary, a total of 3,767 residential sales were processed on the MLS system. That is an increase of 25.3 per cent from the 2010 total,” said Christensen.
For 2012, Christensen said she doesn’t expect to see large change but instead steady growth and stable pricing.
“I predict an increase of nine to 11 per cent in sale volume for Central Alberta, bringing us closer to the 2008 levels of 4,200 units being sold.”
Despite the decreasing inventory levels and increasing demand, Christensen said sellers, and buyers alike, should expect only to see a modest rise of 2-3% in home prices.
“2011 was a year where buyers decided it was a good time to buy. That is excellent news for Central Alberta.”
Christensen said increasing to the 2008 levels is a modest increase.
“We had a slow down in 2010 and a much more cautious buyer. 2011’s increase is a result of the lower levels from 2010. The energy of buyers in Central Alberta is there and they will continue to buy.”
Christensen said the reports of the good news in Alberta’s economy are part of the reason that people are more willing to purchase at this time.
“The longer we see the sustained and renewed energy sector in Alberta the more we will see more buying and selling opportunities.”
Christensen explained the increase in town home sales for 2011 as being a good purchase and good value for a buyer’s dollar.
The decreased prices allowed more buyers to get into the market based on what they could get pre-approved for, said Christensen.
Sylvan Lake was the only community included in the report that saw a negative percentage change for the number of single-family homes sold.
“There are new subdivisions and sometimes the younger people do like new as opposed to older. Each buyer has unique needs.”
Ponoka saw a negative percentage for their average selling price as well as Sylvan Lake. They dropped 7% and 1% respectively.
“I would think consumers are still pretty cautious with debt levels and spending. The recession is fresh in their mind. Until they’re really confident in the economy I think they’ll remain cautious.”
Christensen said the modest increase in home pricing as well as the increased levels of buyers with the confidence to purchase should make 2012 a good year for the real estate market.