Sales in the first two weeks of September are up dramatically compared to the same time in August, and even up from the same time a year ago. The number of active listings is up very slightly from last month but quite a bit higher than they were a year ago. The level of sales this month so far suggests we are heading in the right direction when it comes to balancing supply and demand.
The most active price range was between $250,000 and $450,000, although there was activity across most of the price spectrum, even two sales in the $750,000+ price range. It is an encouraging sign that there is still confidence in the local market when people are investing in higher priced homes.
Another sign of confidence in the Alberta housing market is evidenced in the article below. Albertans are spending money at a record pace, renovating their existing homes even if they aren’t buying new homes.
Home renovations holding up well – Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist, Alberta Treasury Branches
As THE OWL reported yesterday, the slow economy may be wearing on new housing starts in Alberta. But it doesn’t seem to be tempering the enthusiasm for renovating existing homes. In fact, the most recent numbers suggest spending on residential renovations are near an all-time high.
In the second quarter of the year, home owners spent $1.56 billion on expansions or improvements to their properties. The data include renovations on primary residence as well as cottages or recreational properties. And because the survey captures only major renovations (i.e., those which must be done with a municipal building permit) it probably underestimates the total value of renovations—minor, unreported renovations such as new flooring, paint or lighting are not captured.
Renovation spending in the second quarter would, in fact, be a new record high if it was not for the spending that was registered in late 2013 and early 2014. The renovation spending during these quarters were elevated by the southern Alberta flood in June of 2013 when millions of dollars were spent restoring houses that were devastated by the rising water.
The recent enthusiasm for renovation is a good sign that many Albertans are still investing money in their homes. They may not be snapping up new properties to the same extent as they were a few years ago. But they’re still finding the cash to put into their existing properties, creating homes and cottages that are larger, more modern and perhaps more energy efficient.