Rich  Mundle (Re/Max Advantage)

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Sherwood Park Real Estate Report - November 20th, 2008 City of the future stirs public debate - In planners’ vision, expanded LRT dethrones cars Almost 600 people packed City Hall on Wednesday as planners laid out a vision of Edmonton 30 years into the future, in which LRT lines extend throughout a denser, walkable city where cars are no longer king. The transportation master plan and the municipal development plan are intended to provide long-range guidelines for a city expected to be home to as many as 1.2 million people by 2040. The plans outline how land should be used and the ways people should move around. The city’s current population is about 770,000. They call for development around LRT and bus centres to encourage public transit, denser neighbourhoods designed to encourage walking and local shopping, protection for a network of nature areas, and doing less road construction if it’s only aimed at speeding up commuter traffic. "We can’t build our way out of congestion, nor can we afford to do so," city transportation engineer Rhonda Toohey said. "If we build more and bigger roads, that causes congestion to spread, compounding the problem." While she called the plans "realistic," many of the dozens of speakers at the public hearing had reservations, particularly about efforts to protect remaining agricultural land. Retired seed potato grower Jim Visser, founder of the farmland preservation group Topsoil, said the city’s northeast contains 3,200 hectares of prime land that should be saved for raising crops. "Move this area forward ... to a cornerstone of a local food strategy," he said. Castledowns resident Sam Gunsch appeared with three jars of pickles, including one from a local farmers’ market and one from India that he bought in a local supermarket. Long-distance transportation of food products uses huge amounts of oil and isn’t environmentally sound, he said. "We need to support our local economy, our local agriculture. Once we pave it over, it’s gone." But representatives of developers urged that planning for the eventual use of land in northeast and extreme southwest get underway to ensure the property can be used when needed. "It’s just a way of warehousing the lands until we have time to address them," lawyer Jim Murphy said. Monique Nutter, of the Greater Edmonton Alliance, which is a coalition of community groups and churches that, among other things, wants to protect farmland, was not surprised by the turnout. Mothers and fathers sat with their children in their laps as hundreds of people first filled council chambers, then flowed into two additional rooms on the main floor of City Hall. Dozens who stood at the back watched a remote video feed from council chambers. Nutter said she hopes council will view the turnout as a sign that people are willing to shoulder some of the responsibility when it comes to making decisions. Alliance member Trudy Smith said she knows farmland can be protected. Her father owns an orchard near Penticton, B.C., and a land freeze prevents him from selling it for anything other than agricultural purposes, she said. "It’s always been a concern of mine that all the farmland is being gobbled up and thrown away." There were also differences on how people should get around Edmonton. Zoe Todd of the People’s Pedal bicycle sharing society commended suggestions to improve the cycling network, saying many riders feel unsafe on the streets. But Pat Adams of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, who generally supported the two documents, said for a winter city, there’s too little attention paid to roads. "The road system can’t be ignored in the transportation master plan. It has a bias toward building a large, expensive light-rail system." Councillors also had reservations. Coun. Tony Caterina called the documents "social engineering" and "pie in the sky" that don’t deal with costs, while Mayor Stephen Mandel said the city needs industrial projects in areas such as the northeast to provide tax money. He doubts the city can grow enough food to feed itself. Although he supports denser development and encourages less driving, it can be hard to change people’s habits, he said, adding that suburbs remain a popular place to live. "If we don’t supply the kind of housing people want, they will just go out there (to surrounding counties) and use our roads and use our transit anyway." The two plans will probably be amended and discussed at further public hearings before a final decision on whether to adopt them is made next spring. Source: Edmonton Journal - http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/story.html?id=7fe635f7-1d68-4841-8476-377cf4abd9f6&p=2 Sherwood Park Real Estate Report - November 5th, 2008

Edmonton resale housing market maintains stability in uncertain world

Monthly EREB stats

Despite global economic unrest and uncertainty in other North American housing markets, Edmonton seems to be maintaining an even keel according to figures released by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. October residential resale figures were lower than last October but within the normal range for this time of year. Overall prices were down but single family residences gained slightly in price.

“Sales typically slow in the fourth quarter and this year is no exception,” said Marc Perras, president of the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. “Stronger sales in the third quarter may have reduced demand in October but REALTORS® are still busy assisting buyers and sellers with their transactions.”

The average* price of a single family residence was up one third of a percent (0.33%) over September at $363,274. Condominium sales took the biggest single month drop this year resulting in condo prices down by 5.8% with an average price of $237,590 during October. Duplex and rowhouses sold on average for $307,178, which was down 2.7% from September. The average residential sales price (including all types of residential property) was $317,784; dragged down by the lower condo prices.

“Listings were still strong in October although the inventory of homes available on the MLS® continued to reduce toward the normal levels,” said Perras. There were 3,116 homes listed during the month with 1,251 sold for a sales-to-listing ratio of 40% (55% in September). At the end of the month there were 8,525 homes available – down from 8,808 last month. The average days on market also dropped from 61 to 58 days in October.

Total residential sales for the year are now $5.3 billion with total MLS® sales (including commercial and rural sales) over $6 billion. The business community remains confident in the Edmonton market as demonstrated by 150 industrial, commercial and investment sales and agribusiness sales during October.

October 2008 activity Record for the month* % change from October 2007 Total MLS® sales this month 1,409 -2.89% Value of total MLS® sales – month $456 million -14.60% Value of total MLS® sales – year $6.08 billion -17.90% Residential¹ sales this month 1,251 -1.90% Residential average price $317,784 -8.60% SFD² average selling price – month $363,274 -8.54% SFD median³ selling price $342,750 -9.08% Condo average selling price $237,590 -9.62% Sherwood Park Real Estate Report - October 20th, 2008 PROPERTY: RESALE HOUSING MARKET CALMS DOWN

PRICES FALL AGAIN

Prices for existing homes fell by 6.2 per cent in September from last year, the fourth such monthly decline, according to a report yesterday from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

SALES LEVEL OFF

Sales were flat, and new listings rose by 12.3 per cent year over year, but levelled off from the peak reached in the second quarter. Unlike in the United States, there have been few distressed sales in Canada. This means many sellers can afford to wait it out, CREA chief economist Gregory Klump said. In Edmonton, for example, listings fell by 20 per cent in September. Sales, by contrast, rose by 66 per cent from the year before.

RESALE PICKS UP

Last month was the first since November, 2007, when the average number of existing homes sold did not drop noticeably on a year-over-year basis. Some of the pick-up might have been the result of buyers getting into the market before the elimination of zero-down mortgages, Mr. Klump said. Ottawa stopped insuring the products yesterday to avoid a U.S.-style housing bubble.

LATE BLOOMERS

Unlike in Calgary and Edmonton, new listings remained higher in cities including Saskatoon and Regina, where booms that started later in the housing cycle are now tapering off. In Saskatoon, sales fell by 21 per cent year over year in September, while listings rose by 55 per cent. In Regina, sales fell 1 per cent, while new listings rose 54 per cent.

THE BIG CENTRES

In Vancouver, where a lack of affordability has caught up with the market, sales fell by 43 per cent. In Toronto, sales fell 7 per cent and in Montreal, sales rose 13 per cent.

While the hottest real estate markets continued to cool last month, the overall picture is becoming more stable, according to a new report.

DOLLAR VOLUME

CALGARY EDMONTON MONTREAL SASKATOON TORONTO VANCOUVER $870-million (-2.5%) $561.8-million (56.6%) $802.1-million (17.8%) $73.3-million (-3.0%) $2,363.8-million (-9.4%) $867.7-million (-47.8%)

AVERAGE PRICE

CALGARY EDMONTON MONTREAL SASKATOON TORONTO VANCOUVER $390,599 (-6.0%) $324,906 (-5.6%) $262,134 (-4.4%) $297,836 (23.0%) $368,945 (-2.9%) $535,598 (-8.0%)

NEW LISTINGS

CALGARY EDMONTON MONTREAL SASKATOON TORONTO VANCOUVER 4,709 (-11.7%) 3,142 (-19.8%) 6,984 (10.6%) 825 (54.8%) 16,305 (19.4%) 6,322 (26.7%)


Source: Globe and Mail - (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20081016.RCREA16/TPStory/?query=edmonton+real+estate)

Sherwood Park Real Estate Report - October 7th, 2008 Edmonton/Sherwood Park real estate sales skyrocket in September

 

While real estate in the rest of Canada sags, Edmonton’s market shows signs of rebounding as demand increases and supply shrinks.

The number of Edmonton and Sherwood Park area real estate sold in September nearly broke a record, leading a third-quarter upswing in sales activity from the same time last year, show figures released Thursday by the Realtors Association of Edmonton.

There were 65.9 per cent more September residential Multiple Listing Service sales than in September 2007.

July and August also saw 14 and 18 per cent increases, respectively.

"The buyers in our market have got a lot of confidence in our local economy and real estate market, and are jumping into the market in almost record numbers," said Marc Perras, association president.

Edmonton and Sherwood Park buck national figures released Tuesday by the Canadian Real Estate Association, which showed sales in August fell 21 per cent from a year ago.

Edmonton and Sherwood Park’s market began cooling in the middle of last year and appears to be warming up again, Perras said.

"We led correction in this country," Perras said.

"Our correction came in 2007, and not a lot of other Canadian markets were correcting at that time. Calgary might have been the other one that corrected, but a lot of the other Canadian markets were into a growth phase.

"Now we’ve really experienced most of our correction, and it seems like we’re headed into recovery at this point."

Perras forecasted sales volume for 2008 would reach "reasonably strong" volumes similar to 2005, before the market spiked in 2006.

"After peaking at record sales numbers in early 2007, the market slowed through the first half of this year. But sales have certainly picked up to the normal range and surpassed same-month sales from last year."

More encouraging news for homesellers is that the supply has dropped to about 8,808 listings on the market, from a high earlier in the year around 11,000.

Perras stopped short of saying the market is balanced, calling it still a buyer’s market.

Softer prices for all homes helped boost sales, but a strong regional economy was also a factor, he said.

From September 2007 to September 2008, the average residential price dropped about 9.5 per cent, with most of the drop coming in the last half of 2007, Perras said. The average sale price of a single-family dwelling was $362,097 in September 2008 -- down 1.9 per cent from last month. At the same time last year, it was $399,555. But Perras noted that prices are still well above 2006 and 2005 levels, $322,077 and $216,490, respectively.

Condo sales rose from the previous month by 11.7 per cent with an average price of $252,234 in September. Duplex and row houses sold on average for $315,690, up 0.1 per cent from August.

Homes on the region’s resale market were listed for an average of 61 days -- down two days from August. That compares with around 43 days in 2007 and 23 days in 2006.

"I’ve been busy," said Charlie Ponde, a St. Albert-based Realty Executives Realtor®.

"Prices have softened so buyers are taking advantage of the market. They were on the fence but now the message is getting through that this might come to an end because the inventory is coming down."

(source Canwest News : http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/calgarybusiness/story.html?id=74810ad5-25e5-4d8b-8db9-ae7100146982)

Sherwood Park Real Estate Report - September 26th, 2008

Edmonton/Sherwood Park resale housing market not plunging; say REALTORS®

Despite reports that the national housing market is weakening, prices of existing homes in Edmonton/Sherwood Park are relatively stable and sales are increasing, reports the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.

There is no cause for concern about the health of the Edmonton/Sherwood Park resale market,” said Marc Perras, president of the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. “All real estate markets are local and buyers and sellers in Edmonton/Sherwood Park should look at the details of this market rather than responding to attention getting headlines from reports based on national trends.” Residential housing prices in Edmonton/Sherwood Park have fluctuated within a narrow range this year and sales of homes through the MLS® continue to be strong.

REALTORS® are confident that the robust Edmonton/Sherwood Park market will continue. “Sales will increase from demographic changes such as more single women buying houses and condos,” Perras said. “More young people are living alone and boomers and seniors are buying second homes for recreation or to prepare for retirement.”

Perras agreed that new housing starts are down dramatically but insisted that a downturn in new home construction does not reflect on the resale market. He stressed that economic factors will also increase housing sales. The strong Alberta economy continues with low unemployment and high consumer confidence. Alberta will continue to attract migrants from other provinces because of the lack of a sales tax and the lower cost of living in Alberta.

Buyers and sellers should consult their REALTORS® for details of the current market and to devise a pricing and marketing plan for their property. Some sellers will have to trim their expectations and bring their prices into line to attract buyers. Buyers have lots of choice right now and will not be tempted to offer more than the market price for a property. However, the inventory is decreasing and they should begin to make reasonable offers to ensure that this opportunity does not pass them by.

Backgrounder

The REALTORS® association of Edmonton operates the Multiple Listing Service® in Edmonton and Sherwood Park. There were over 41,000 residential properties listed on the MLS® last year with over 20,500 sales. This real estate database is available only to REALTORS® and is used to monitor current trends in the market and make informed pricing decisions for buying or selling homes. Consumers can review homes for sale and their list prices on REALTOR.ca, a national database of property available on the MLS®.

MLS® records reveal that Edmonton/Sherwood Park housing prices are stable. The average price of a single family home in January was $379,567. Prices rose slightly for several months before settling back. In July, an average single family home was $379,224 – an overall drop of just $343.

Edmonton/Sherwood Park homes were under-priced relative to other major Canadian cities up until December 2005 when the average price for a single family dwelling was $225,130 and an average condo was $149,254. The whole country was surprised when Edmonton/Sherwood Park prices suddenly shot up in 2006 and early 2007.

Homes that increased in value over that period have retained most of the theoretical value. Single family homes that sold for $303,304 in July 2006 were priced 40% higher at the peak in May 2007. That same average priced home will now sell for $379,224. That is a drop of 11% from the peak price but still 25% better than two years ago.

Single Family Condo All Residential July 2006 Average Price $303,304 $188,831 $256,489 Peak 2007 Average Price $426,028 $271,908 $354,718 Price Increase 40.50% 43.99% 38.30% July 2008 Average Price $379,224 $253,850 $335,100 Decrease from peak -10.98% -6.64% -5.53% Increase over 2006 25.03% 34.43% 30.65%

By January 2008 it was evident that Edmonton/Sherwood Park prices had stabilized and the market again began to operate in a normal manner. The average price of a home is still higher in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Toronto and Fort McMurray. Residential prices in Ottawa, Saskatoon and Hamilton are lower but still competitively priced with Edmonton. Where Edmonton used to be the tenth highest priced city in Canada, it now sits at fifth or sixth.

Average Residential Prices in Canadian Cities (July 2008)

Ft. McMurray $680,400 203% Greater Vancouver $575,256 172% Victoria $487,864 146% Calgary $402,788 120% Toronto $371,410 111% Edmonton $335,100 100% Ottawa $295,134 88% Saskatoon $292,428 87% Hamilton $281,580 84%

The Canadian Real Estate Association noted recently that housing sales in Ontario and Quebec had dropped 11%. In Edmonton/Sherwood Park sales are increasing month by month. Sales of homes through the MLS® continue to be strong. Last month was the second best July ever and August sales are up by 186 units so far this month. The residential inventory that peaked at 11,000 homes in May has dropped steadily to just over 10,000 homes as a result of the strong sales.

The sudden 2006-2007 boom in housing sales and price increases was a result of a strong economy and consumer confidence resulting in higher than average in-migration and locals improving their personal situation. Builders responded to meet the new demand with an active program of new home starts. When the market started to cool, builders could not downsize quickly enough to prevent an oversupply of new homes.

The rapidly increasing prices in early 2006 resulted in a land rush and the MLS® residential inventory dropped to a low of 1,800 homes. By 2007 the resale housing inventory started to rise to record levels as a result of move-up and new home buyers listing existing homes, landlords capitalizing older rental units by converting them to condos, some workers returning “home” as the economy picked up and boomers and seniors selling out to move to their retirement location.

REALTORS® are confident that the robust Edmonton/Sherwood Park market will continue. Sales will increase from demographic changes such as more single women buying houses and condos. In addition, more young people are living alone and boomers and seniors are buying second homes for recreation or to prepare for retirement.

Economic factors will also increase housing sales. The strong Alberta economy continues with low unemployment and high consumer confidence. Alberta will continue to attract migrants from other provinces because of the lack of a sales tax and the lower cost of living in Alberta combined with well-paying jobs and housing availability.

* Article courtesy of the Edmonton Real Estate board

Sherwood Park Real Estate Report - September 12th, 2008

In August, homebuyers are distracted by warm weather, vacations and back-to-school preparations. Never-the-less, the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton reports that residential sales were up 18.6% in August as compared to August 2007. New listings were down for the month compared to last year resulting in a net drop of 889 properties available on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) dropping below the 10,000 mark for the first time since March. There were just 9,612 residential properties in the inventory on August 31 as compared to 10,501 at the beginning of the month.

“Sales, compared month to month, were stronger than last year for the second consecutive month,” said Marc Perras, president of the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. “New home sales are down dramatically partially because of the wide selection of homes available through the MLS® but buyers are demonstrating their confidence in this market and are not afraid to purchase.”

Average prices* for all types of homes were down slightly from the previous month. Single family detached homes were off 2.65% to $369,190; the lowest price in 18 months. Condominium prices were down just 1.1% to $251,048 in August after a 3.25% slide in July. Duplex and rowhouse prices were down less than half a percent. Overall, the average residential price (which includes all types of residential property) was $329,207 (off 1.8%: the same as the month previous).

Days-on-market rose from 55 to 63 days. The sales-to-listing ratio was 51% in August. Total MLS® sales for the month were up as a result of the increased sales volume to $574 million with total sales for the year reaching just under $5 billion.

“Housing prices typically rise slightly through the fall,” said Perras. “We expect that the strong sales this quarter will support rising prices as we approach year-end. Once again, I encourage buyers and sellers to maintain contact with their REALTORS® to ensure they are up-to-date on the day-to-day changes in this dynamic market.”

* Article courtesy of the Edmonton Real Estate board

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