The real estate market was one of many industries to be impacted by the pandemic, but it is on the mend.
Dale Russell, broker and owner at REMAX Real Estate Central Alberta, says he is “very impressed” with the way the market has recovered with this July being basically on par with July 2019.
He explained the market around Central Alberta tends to be very similar, but this year Sylvan Lake has outperformed some of the other markets in terms of transactions.
“Generally in Central Alberta in April sales compared to April of last year were down 60 per cent, in May Central Alberta sales compared to last year were down 40 per cent and June sales caught back up with where we were last year,” said Russell.
He explained Sylvan Lake “held its own better than some other markets.”
In April of 2019 there was 21 residential sales in Sylvan Lake compared to this year’s 20 in April. In May of this year there were 28 sales compared to 2019’s 29, and June saw 30 last year and 26 this year.
A market update put together at the end of June by Russell states the market favours buyers.
“Our Year-to-Date sales in Central Alberta are still down about 20 per cent compared to last year, so the COVID did hit us,” added Russell.
Year-to-Date sales in Sylvan Lake are down 11 per cent compared to end of June last year.
“We do have to put things in perspective though because Alberta’s obviously been hit,” Russell said. “If you want to compare all of Central Alberta sales in the first half of 2020 are down 18.4 per cent compared to the first half of 2019, but they’re down 48.7 per cent compared to 2014.”
The number of inventory is also down this year with 210 active listings in the Sylvan Lake and lake area on July 1 compared to 251 last year.
Russell’s philosophy as to why Sylvan Lake has done better relative to other markets is because it has become the attraction with no one being able to travel. He says there is a lot of people who have sold their properties in Phoenix and B.C.
“You can’t go to Red Deer and buy a cottage, but you can come to Sylvan Lake and buy a cottage.”
Other smaller communities, such as Clearwater County, are doing better relative to others as well because people are buying acreages and farms in an effort to be away from others in result to the pandemic.
Sandi Hallgren, realtor with REMAX Real Estate Central Alberta, says “you can’t keep land on the market.”
The small market in Eckville is down two sales from last year, says Hallgren, citing the weather and pandemic all making a difference.
Deemed an essential service the realtors were selling homes all throughout the closures and protocols were added to accommodate people’s needs to still buy property.
“We’re making it safe and it was tough, but we still sold things,” said Hallgren.
She explained buyers still cannot ride in realtors vehicles with them and masks can be required by the seller.