Edmonton homeowners compete for buyers in marked-down market
Owners looking to sell their homes find supply far outstrips demand
Selling a property in Edmonton's real estate market can be a juggling act these days.
In many cases, sellers have to be flexible if they want potential buyers to walk through the front door.
A recent report put out by Remax predicts the uncertainty in oil prices will lead to further price drops in the Edmonton market in 2016.
Homeowner Kimberley Franchuk and her husband, Cam, have already experienced that. Two years ago, they decided to build a new home, with the eventual plan to sell their existing home in Terwillegar.
This past summer, when they started making plans to put their home on the market, Franchuk noticed the market was already starting to slide.
When the house they bought 10 years ago was finally put on the market at the end of September, the outlook wasn't good.
"Our realtor was very realistic," says Franchuck, who admits they had to lower the asking price several times before they started to get serious offers.
"Our realtor said, 'This is where we're going to start, because nobody really knows where the market is going, we'll just keep evaluating every two weeks,' " said Franchuck
Their realtor, Sara Kalke of Remax Rivercity, adjusted the selling price several times, but still there were no buyers.
Then at the beginning of November, Franchuk called Kalke to try and get things moving before the typical Christmas slowdown.
"I phoned her and said, "We really have to get this sold quickly,' " said Franchuk. She asked Kalke to hold more open houses to try and find a potential buyer. It paid off and they had an offer by the middle of November, which was eventually accepted.
In the end, the Franchuks sold their home for $100,000 lower than their asking price, which was in the $500,000 to $600,000 range.
"Anything that was realistic, we were prepared to take at that point," says Franchuk.
It's a similar story with other sellers. Price reductions are not uncommon for owners who want to sell homes in the Edmonton market right now.
But getting those sellers to accept lower offers can be the biggest stumbling block for realtors right now.
Longtime Remax realtor Abe Hering has seen plenty of ups and downs during his 35 years in the business. He's seen volatility before.
Hering says during times like these, the buyer's behaviour dictates what will happen.
"What normally happens in the ups and downs of real estate, the buyers adjust very quickly, but the sellers are much more resistant to adjusting, primarily because they would like to make the same amount of money as their next-door neighbour did a year ago," he says. "And unfortunately, that's not possible today in many cases."
That's especially the case in a market like Edmonton, where the supply of houses for sale far outstrips demand.
"In my experience, there's always a seller out there that says, "Look, I need to sell, you tell me where the market is. I'm going to go to the market, I'm not going to wait for the market to come to me.' "
How things play out will depend a lot on the first few months of 2016, says Hering. That's when sellers will find out if the market swings back in their favour, or continues its painful slide.