Even though we are still knee-deep into a pandemic, there are still indications of a strong housing market in Strathmore. We spoke with local real estate agents to find out exactly what the local housing market has been like over the last year, and how things have changed during the pandemic.
Audra Reinhardt from CIR Realty explains that Alberta’s economy is turning around and there are a few more factors that are affecting the local housing market.
“There is some positive thinking about Alberta right now, and the population of Alberta has grown approximately 40,000 people in 2021, which you wouldn't expect in the middle of a pandemic,” she said. “After we lost a number of residents to the rest of Canada and then all of a sudden we had that boom in population. I would say that unemployment has dropped. Most sectors are seeing improvement with the phenomenal year-over year-growth.”
In addition, she notes that oil production is hitting a record high in terms of numbers and the price is holding. Gas production has been steadily improving and consumer spending and activity continues to improve as well.
People can see that there is value in Alberta.
“Because we are more competitively priced as a province as compared to, let's say British Columbia or Ontario, these investors are buying up all sorts of property and developments in Alberta and in Strathmore,” said Reinhardt.
In terms of inventory Reinhardt says, "I wouldn’t say there’s a boost in home sales, because the local inventory of homes is so limited."
“As of today, there's 23 listings available for sale in Strathmore, which is super low for even this time of year. In a normal year, we would normally see a higher amount of listings. I can't say that there's a boost in home sales because we just don't have the inventory to sell as Realtors,” she said.
Hayley Poirier of the REPs of REMAX Key also revealed that inventory right now is incredibly low.
“We only had 10 homes for sale in Strathmore on January 14. That is incredibly low inventory and that is a reflection of how strong sales were in 2021. Good listings that are coming on the market are getting attention immediately with showings and offers much quicker than expected,” she said. As of today Strathmore has 11 houses for sale and six conditionally are sold homes. Sales are outpacing listings,” said Poirier.
She explained that because inventory is down, that also means that sales were down in the fourth quarter.
“Sales in 2021 were very strong with a 50 per cent increase in home sales over 2020 (163 in 2020 and 257 in 2021). The last time we saw that kind of market was in 2014. Consider that statistic with the lower inventory right now. This is a supply and demand situation that will result in increased sale prices and possibly even multiple offer scenarios.” Poirier explained that traditionally sellers like to list their homes in the spring months.
“We are encouraging sellers to seriously look at whether it’s time to list now or we will have a shortfall. What we like to share with sellers is - Buyers don’t stop shopping anymore. Our websites like RE/MAXkey.ca give the buyer the ability to shop for houses 365 days a year on their phones and devices. This year we even saw activity for showings and offers on Christmas day.”
Reinhardt spoke of the current housing crunch explaining that it could be due partly to people being afraid to list their homes.
“Where will they move to if their house sells?”
“There are a couple of reasons. One is the economy in Calgary has definitely improved and we've got more people moving into Alberta. The average age of a first-time homebuyer is now 36-years-old and those millennials have moved into the real estate market in a big way,” she said.
“They’re looking for their first or second house and they've got a lot of purchasing power due to the low-interest rates, the increased savings that they've had with government assistance, COVID is limiting their activities they can't go on holidays, they can't go out and spend money,” she said.
“They've got strong income positions right now, so they're pushing the property ladder for sure.”
Poirier says sellers should reach out and have a discussion with a realtor about their home and what the market is doing.
“This switch in the market came swiftly and could change again quite quickly. The great, historically low-interest rates are one reason that helped, helping bolster the market. The other reasons have to do with big lifestyle changes. Many buyers have decided to size up size down or have been transferred to the area,” she said.
“The housing prices in Alberta are very good compared to other cities and provinces. have a conversation with us. We’d be happy to chat about what is best for you and your situation. Everybody’s story is unique and important,” said Poirier.