Housing market to stay steady
Okotoks: Drop in oil not expected to shake market
Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 01:08 pm
Despite plummeting oil prices, Alberta’s real estate market is expected to remain strong, with only a slight decrease in sales expected from last year’s record numbers.
The Calgary Real Estate Board released it’s projections for 2015 and said in the face of Alberta’s questionable economy, it’s still predicting 24,503 homes to be sold in CalgaryClarify that this included Calgary, Okotoks and other areas communities. and surrounding area this year, only a four per cent decrease from 2014.
While the numbers are down, Okotoks realtor Brad Pond said he’s not worried.
“Last year was exceptional. That’s the thing, people are comparing 2014 which started out like a canon and just never stopped until about Nov. 30. So people are comparing a downturn but it’s still much much stronger than it was even in 2013,” he said. “We’re noticing in Okotoks just a lot of activity. There’s listings coming on the market but there's not really a lot of supply yet and it's still being gobbled up quite a bit.”
The CREB report notes the market will depend on how much the energy sector plans to cut back to weather the low energy prices. With a number of companies already laying off employees this year the report said it might leave some Albertans leery of making any changes to their living situation. However, Pond said this doesn’t mean the market will come to a standstill.
“What I found overwhelmingly in 16 years in the business is people still need a place to live and their lifestyle dictates that,” Pond said. “You know, ‘hey we need to sell our condo and move into a house because we've had a child,’ or something like that. People are always going to need shelter.”
During the last recession in 2009, the housing market across Canada took a major hit, but the report said indicators show that thanks to a better global economy, 2015 activity isn’t expected to drop anywhere close to the 2009 numbers.
“It was exceptionally tough, I call it the hangover, we went through the party of 2006-2007 and then 2008-2009 was just brutal, and there isn’t that feel (this year) at all,” Pond said. “A lot of it is media doom and gloom. If you look at it versus 2009, the global economy is much, much stronger than it was. Right now… Okotoks is in its own little bubble.”
For any first time buyers hoping to find a great deal, the CREB report actually forecasts a slight 1.58 per cent increase in prices, something Pond said is simply due to constant demand.
“We look at it like a supply and demand chart, if the supply isn’t there and there’s still a demand and there's still people coming and the rental market is still very tight, I think what we're going to see is a steady market with a slight increase,” Pond said.
Home buyers will have a definite advantage this year, as the pressure won’t be as intense as last year, he added.
“Buyers are walking into a more balanced market now, so it’s not going to be as high pressure for buyers,” he said. “It's a major, major purchase and people were having to make a snap decision in 2014 they were having to make that decision in literally minutes.”
Pond said it was tough watching buyers have to jump on a purchase as large as a house, and is hopeful that 2015 will provide more opportunity for a fair deal.
“It’s the biggest decision of your life I always feel awful for people after a boom, especially people moving to Okotoks, they’re making this decision in a day and some people are encouraged to write an offer in order to win the purchase,” he said. “They're encouraged to write without conditions of financing or a home inspection and I just don’t think that's right for a purchaser.”
Pond said 2015 is ultimately shaping up to be a more even market in Okotoks with plenty of activity to keep him busy.
“I’m looking forward to a nice balanced market where sellers are going to have to be realistic with their price,” he said. “And buyers can not doddle, but they can go in and make an intelligent decision and put in conditions and just make the right decision on their home purchase.”