Real estate prices, sales decrease in Edmonton area

Residential unit sales were down by nearly 14 per cent relative to October 2017, show the latest statistics from the Realtors Association of Edmonton.

'It’s a challenging time to say the least in our market and I don’t see it getting better'

Edmonton is experiencing record high new home vacancy rate. (CBC)

Real estate prices and sales have taken a significant hit across the board compared to a year ago, according to the latest figures.

Residential unit sales were down by nearly 14 per cent relative to October 2017, according to the latest monthly statistics from the Realtors Association of Edmonton.

The sale of rowhouses and duplexes was hit hardest, decreasing by more than 30 per cent in the past year.

"It's a dire situation when you look at the limited amount of sales with the inventory that we have," said Greg Steele, an Edmonton-based realtor and former president of the Realtors Association.

The number of listings on the market has increased by four per cent even as sales have declined over the past year.

"It's a challenging time to say the least in our market and I don't see it getting better," he said.

The figures account for the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, which includes Spruce Grove, Sherwood Park and St. Albert.

The average price of a residential listing was down by three per cent to $358,954, the figures show. The average condominium is sold for nine per cent less than last year, or $221,293.

"I'm doing many, many market evaluations for clients that are struggling tremendously right now," Steele said. "They're absolutely disheartened by the value of their home."

Greg Steele, Edmonton-based realtor, called the real estate market "a dire situation" due in part to the increasing number of listing and declining sales. (CBC)

Homes are also on the market longer, according to the figures. A single family home is listed for an average of 62 days, a week longer than last year.

Last month, The Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation reiterated a warning that Edmonton's housing market was vulnerable to "overbuilding", when new housing projects outpace demand.

"The builders just kept on building throughout the summer, hoping things would turn around, but they haven't turned around," Steele said.

"There's open houses every single weekend at the show homes and people are walking through but you don't see a lot activity in the sales."

Darcy Torjhelm, chair of the Realtors Association of Edmonton, said homebuyers ultimately reap the benefits of the current market, with more options at a relatively lower cost.

"They've got a lot of choice, they don't have to rush into something, they can make sure it's exactly what they want," he said.

Torjhelm also added that it's common for prices and sales to fall around this time of year. But he said a lack of confidence in the economy made him skeptical the market would change in the short-term.

"I just don't see things changing a whole lot right now," he said. "The sky's not falling but you have to be prudent out there."