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CARA approaching Sylvan Lake 2020 housing market with ‘guarded optimism’

Allan Melbourne, president of the Central Alberta Realtors Association, says it’s a buyer’s market

Realtors in Sylvan Lake are cautiously optimistic after a slight down turn in the local housing market in 2019.

Allan Melbourne, president of the Central Alberta Realtors Association, said there was very little change year over year, but there was a slight drop.

There were 252 listings in 2019, down from the roughly 280 listings in 2018.

“The number of active listings is down, which is a good thing, but we are not anywhere close to a balanced market,” Melbourne said.

A balanced market would see somewhere between 20 and 40 per cent of the active listings sell each month.

Currently the Sylvan Lake market sees roughly six and a half per cent of active listings sell each month.

“We have more houses on the market than we have buyers for. It is definitely a buyers market in Sylvan Lake,” Melbourne said.

The housing market was down for the fifth consecutive year in 2019, but it wasn’t the worst of the last five years.

While no major improvements are expected in 2020, Melbourne says there is room for “guarded optimism.”

There have been some positives that have happened in the last year, and a lot of possibilities for growth should some factors come to fruition.

Activity in pipelines have increased slightly over the last year, as well as modest increases in the price of oil, which for towns that rely on the oil industry are positive movements.

The Federal Government also announced upcoming changes to the mortgage stress test which will give regions the ability to alter it to better represent its residents.

“The mortgage stress test did what it was supposed to do, which was to slow down the markets in Toronto and Vancouver. However, they didn’t think of the effect it would have in other markets.

“It affected Alberta worse than any other province, I think,” Melbourne said.

Melbourne continued to say there are a lot of big maybe’s on the table that need to see follow through if the markets are expected to greatly improve.

“I’ve a glass-half-full kind of guy, so I like to look at the positives. Will it be terrific, no I don’t think so, but I think it will be at least a bit better,” Melbourne said.

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