INVESTORS HELPING TO DRIVE INTEREST IN REAL ESTATE MARKET
JOEL SCHLESINGER (Edmonton Journal)
It’s reasonable to be concerned, but don’t be alarmed about the state of Edmonton’s real estate market, say the owner of one of the city’s largest realty firms.
“I look at the statistics for the market and there is no question there are issues,” Bill Briggs, owner and broker of RE/MAX Real Estate (Edmonton) Ltd.
Indeed, the latest data for the market from the Realtors Associate of Edmonton show sales fell year-over-year last month with single family homes sales falling about 13 percent.
But compared with the previous month, sales rose in all major categories with single family home sales leading the way, jumping more than 27 percent in March over February.
This is hardly surprising to Briggs.
“The real estate market by no means is absolutely dead.” Says Briggs, whose firm includes nine offices in the city with 190 sales associates.
“There are still a number of people in Edmonton who are confident in their job situations.”
While agents aren’t breaking records with the number of deals, plenty of sales are going through for single-family homes price around $400,000.00
“I’m seeing most of our activity in the price range just below that,” he says. “The $350,000 to $420,000 is the range that is pretty popular right now.”
While condo sales did increase month over month in March, Briggs says it remains one of the most challenging segments of the market.
“The condominium market is still suffering from huge inventories on the market place, but there are certainly sales taking place,” he says. “In fact, my top sales person in our largest office pretty much is focused on condominium sales.”
Among the buyers helping dive interest in the market overall are investors, especially in the single-family segment.
“They don’t seem to be concerned about putting renters in place, so that’s another reason why they are buying at the moment,” says Briggs, adding many transactions coming through his office involve buyers from British Columbia. “On top of properties being value priced, they are finding renters to put in them.”
Overall, the market offers plenty of value for buyer’s money in the city, especially relative to a market like Vancouver.
What’s more is Briggs suggests the economy could soon turn around – at least that’s the hope among many in the city.
“Certainly if we ever see a shovel in the ground and a pipe going in….it’s going to change attitudes dramatically and our market would benefit dramatically as well.”
Currently, the key driver in the market is price. Homes with the best value for dollar are moving at a good clip.
In part this reflects the tighter mortgage rules that came into effect last year.
“The choice is do you go ahead and buy now because it’s value priced real estate, or do your wait until you can qualify for the mortgage for the home that you really want” Briggs says.