First Quarter Housing Sales on Normal Track; Prices Up
Edmonton, April 5, 2011: REALTORS® expect the local real estate market to follow a well-worn annual sales track. However, like the stock market, large external forces can skew the market. In 2010, the threat of increased mortgage rates and a change to mortgage qualification rules accelerated sales in the first quarter and caused a sales slump in the following months that took all summer to work through. This year there are no external influences on the market and it is operating normally again.
According to the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton, residential sales in the first quarter are normal for this time of year although lower than 2010 numbers because of the abnormalities imposed on the previous market. There were 3,479 residential sales in the first quarter, which is down from 3,890 last year.
“We will see sales number bounce back as we move into the spring market period,” said REALTORS® Association of Edmonton President Chris Mooney. “All the fundamentals for this market are positive. There is job stability, low unemployment, income growth and in-migration. New home builders are busy and I expect buyers to be looking at the housing options which match their lifestyle changes.”
At the end of March, the average* residential price (includes all types of housing including condos) was down 4.6% from a year ago at $327,725. The average price of a single family detached home was down to $378,912 compared to 2010 (a -2.6% change) and condos were priced down 7.5% year-over-year at $232,706.
As the market picks up momentum, prices inch up each month with the average residential price up 4.8% from a month ago. Compared to February, prices for SFDs were up 5.8% and condos up 0.8%.
“REALTORS® expect that prices will continue to climb slowly through the next quarter as usual,” said Mooney. “We are already seeing strong sales in the lower end of the market but tighter mortgage qualification rules have slowed sales in the upper end. Sellers should review their asking prices or consider minor home improvements that will appeal to the potential buyer.” Mooney urged both buyers and sellers to contact their REALTOR® to get assistance and advice on home selection and pricing strategy.
REALTORS® listed 2,960 residential properties in March and sold a total of 1,503 properties. Current residential inventory is 6,885 up 7.8% from last month. The residential sales-to-listing ratio in March was 45% with days on market down from 58 to 50 days. Total MLS® System sales this year are $1.235 billion.