Potential buyers staying home: April real estate stats in Edmonton show 55% drop in sales
'With the outbreak of COVID-19 ... this type of market decline is not surprising'
The grim toll of COVID-19 on the housing market can be seen in April real estate statistics, which showed both the number of listings and sales taking a spectacular hit in the Edmonton area
There were 3,759 residential units sold in the first four months of 2020, a 55-per-cent drop from the same period in 2019 in the region, which includes four surrounding counties, according to a Monday news release from the Realtors Association of Edmonton.
The 750 residential sales in April were 35 per cent less than the number of sales in March 2020, the association said.
"The Edmonton market experienced a significant decrease in year-over-year unit sales, with some downward impact on pricing," Jennifer Lucas, chair of the association, said in the news release.
"With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures currently in place, this type of market decline is not surprising," Lucas said.
Business moved online
After the World Health Organization declared coronavirus as a global pandemic in March, open houses were banned by the Alberta Real Estate Association.
Homes on the market are being "shown" through digital interfaces, including photos, videos and virtual-meeting apps like Skype or Zoom, while real-estate agents have also been advised by the association to avoid as much face-to-face interaction as possible with clients.
The pandemic hit just in advance of busy April-through-June period, when people traditionally buy and sell homes in advance of moving during the summer.
Fewer homes on the market
The drop in sales is partly explained by a similar drop in new listings.
The number of listings in the Edmonton area dropped by 29 per cent from March, but is down by a whopping 46 per cent compared to the first four months of 2019.
There were 1,871 residential listings in the region as of April 30, including the 1,366 in Edmonton.
Prices took a hit as well, but not nearly to the same degree as sales and listings, according to the news release.
The average price of a single-detached home in the region was $410,200 — a four-per-cent drop from April 2019 but only a 1.5-per-cent drop from March 2020.
Prices for condominiums and duplexes — while still depressed compared to 2019 — were up slightly from March. The average condominium price was $244,000, while an average duplex sold for $330,000.