The late spring housing market has arrived, and real estate sales in St. Albert seem to be recovering from COVID-19 slowdowns.
Total residential sales in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) real estate market for June increased 13.7 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to a report from the Realtors Association of Edmonton.
The numbers show a remarkable uptick in sale volumes from just two months ago, with a 77.3-per-cent increase from May.
“The Edmonton market prices have declined in June, however, there has been a slight increase in year-over-year unit sales,” stated Jennifer Lucas, association chair, in the news release.
“There have also been more sales of single-family homes, condos and duplexes compared to June of last year.”
In St. Albert, sales for single-family homes jumped by 26.6 per cent last month, with 119 homes selling this year in comparison to 94 homes last year. The average price of a single-family was $485,221, a slight 8.6-per-cent increase from the average price last year.
Condo sales in June almost doubled from 18 sales recorded last year to 38 this year. Year-to-date data shows a slight increase in condo purchases as well, with nine more sales recorded so far in 2020 from the same period last year.
Overall, though, the economic impacts of COVID-19 on St. Albert's real estate market are putting sale volumes behind compared to year-to-date numbers recorded last year. So far, total sale volumes for 2020 are down by $42 million.
Single-family home sales also dropped by 20 per cent compared to the first seven months of 2019.
The number of single-family homes and condos on the market is on the low side with 368 properties listed. The last several years saw inventory around 500 listings at this time of year, said Shandrie Lewis, real estate agent and broker for RE/MAX Professionals.
But Lewis said her office is seeing a renewed flurry of activity coming from months of pent-up demand.
“I did hire more staff to close up all of the deals, because we are doing more deals right now than this time last year,” Lewis said. "We're run off our feet."
Buyers and sellers holding off during the onset of the pandemic seem to be feeling more comfortable now. There is a sellers' market for single-family homes under $500,000, Lewis said. Those listings are going quickly, often with multiple offers, she said.
Any market slow-downs from the pandemic seem to be on the path to recovery, she said. It may slow down again should the number of COVID-19 cases in Alberta start to rise, but Lewis said there is a lot of optimism out there.
“(Houses) that were on the market for a year, ones that were struggling to sell before COVID, are now selling. It's a really positive thing to see,” she said.
Brian Macleod with Bermont Realty said those looking to sell should keep in mind that pricing is critical. With real estate moving more online, people tend to swipe left or right quickly depending on if the listing is priced near market value.
Kristin Boser, realtor and associate broker with Sarasota Realty, said the agency saw a "record-breaking" month in June. Properties under $500,000 are "jumping off the shelves," she said.
"It's been a little bit of a pent-up demand happening and the markets are really, really going quite well right now,"
In a normal year, properties within that price bracket see the most attention to kickstart the market. Then people who move out generally move up to a higher price bracket, so she's hopeful properties over $500,000 will start to see some movement later this year.
"We are starting to definitely see more showings in those price points. It's just I think the consumers now are a bit more cautious and not doing anything very quickly," she said.
The rental market in St. Albert "has been really great," she said. Some of her clients will use the equity in their home to purchase a new home, and then rent out their current home to take advantage.
"(There's an) opportunity for people to just look at what the pandemic has made our reality as a market and see if there are opportunities there to take advantage of," she said.
For those looking to sell their homes, Boser said it's never been more important to make sure your house is being shown well online. Having "eye-guides" so people can move through the home online and making sure photos reflect the space looking its best will go a long way.