Top News

Alberta home sales decline in March, prices show stability

The Calgary skyline was photographed on April 1, 2019. (Postmedia file photo)
The Calgary skyline was photographed on April 1, 2019. (Postmedia file photo)

March sales on MLS Systems in Alberta dropped nine percent year over year, says Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist for the Alberta Real Estate Association and Calgary Real Estate Board.

“This is an unprecedented time with a significant amount of uncertainty. The impact on the housing market will likely persist over the next several quarters,” says Lurie. “However, measures put in place by the government and lending institutions to help support homeowners through this time will prevent more significant impacts in the housing market.”

Calgary and Edmonton saw sales decrease by 10 percent and three percent, respectively, from March 2019, while other regions also experienced varying levels of decline.

Prices, however, held mostly stable across the province.

Here are Lurie’s observations of the regions outside of Calgary and Edmonton.

Central Alberta

“The only region in the province to record relatively stable sales in March. However, last March was one of the weakest levels recorded in over 15 years and sales this March remain nearly 17 percent below the five-year average.

“New listings dropped 13 percent, reducing inventory levels and bringing down the oversupply that has persisted in this market. Meanwhile, prices continued to improve as most of the improvements in sales occurred in the higher price ranges in the market.”

Fort McMurray

“March sales dropped to the lowest levels recorded since 2016, a decline of nearly 30 percent, pushing it 21 percent below the previous five-year average. This region has continued to struggle following the first downturn in energy back in 2015 and recent events will likely cause further difficulties.

“Unlike other areas, new listings and inventories in the area increased. Despite these changes, prices rose compared to last year. However, this is likely due to some changes in distribution as sales improved for homes priced from $500,000 to $650,000.”

Grande Prairie

“Following a strong start to the year, activity turned around quickly in March, with sales declining by 19 percent compared to last year and falling nearly 18 percent below the five-year average. New listings continue to rise, causing inventories to rise to 1,692 units, up 19 percent over last year.

“Despite the supply growth compared to sales, prices rose over the previous year. This is related to the higher share of the sales occurring in the higher price ranges compared to the previous year.”

Lethbridge

“Following a strong start to the year, March sales activity slowed as the impact of COVID-19 weighed on the market. At the same time, supply has not yet responded as new listings grew by 15 percent, keeping it in line with longer-term trends.

“Slower sales, combined with gains in new listings, caused inventories to rise. While prices have shown some signs of trending down over the past few months, overall prices in the region remained relatively stable compared to last year.”

Medicine Hat

“Sales were slowing prior to any impact from COVID-19. However, recent developments did not help the situation in the region where year-over-year sales eased by over 20 percent for a second month in a row. March sales were 33 percent below averages recorded over the past five years, representing the slowest March in more than 20 years.

“Despite this, prices continue to trend up and remain higher than last year’s levels. This can be related to the greater share of homes being sold in the higher price ranges, pushing up both median and average prices.”

Alberta West

“Economic conditions in the region vary significantly. As the housing statistics are compiled for the entire region, figures may not accurately reflect conditions in the local market.

“Year-over-year sales in the region eased for the fifth consecutive month, with March sales falling to the lowest levels recorded since 2009. While new listings also eased in March, it was not enough to offset the pullback in sales and inventories rose. Prices in the region also eased, as there was a significant drop in sales occurring in the higher price ranges.”

Lloydminster

“Slower sales in March added to the downward trend already playing out in this market. Unlike the first two months of the year, new listings also eased, preventing a more significant rise in inventory levels. Despite these trends, prices continue to increase, likely related to a higher share of sales occurring in the higher price ranges.”

South Central Alberta

“For the third consecutive month, sales in the region eased year over year. While new listings declined for the second month in a row, inventories remain comparable to the previous year. Meanwhile, prices eased in March compared to last year as there was a rise in sales for homes priced under $200,000.”

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories