April 3, 2013 9:50 pm

Edmonton housing market continues to accelerate

EDMONTON – A tighter supply of listings helped push up resale home prices in March compared to a year ago, says the Realtors Association of Edmonton.

In the Edmonton census metropolitan area, average residential sale prices — including single-detached, condos and row houses — for the month rose more than four per cent to $354,759 from $340,117 in March 2012.

Total home sales were down to 1,386 units in March from 1,480 a year earlier.

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Single-family detached homes sold for an average of $416,739 in March, up seven per cent from $389,372 in March 2012.

Single-family unit sales were 855 for the month down from 989 a year ago.

“Right from the beginning of this year, the market is continually on the rise,” said RAE president Darrell Cook.

“There’s actually a shortage of some inventory in the $350,000 to $400,000 price range. When you get a shortage in that 350-400 (range) then you get more activity from buyers and in some instances, we’re getting multiple offers on those prices so that inflates the value a little bit.”

The shortage in that category is also causing some buyers to move up in the market, he said.

Cook said it’s the first time single-family prices have reached the $417,000-level since May 2007.

“The highest price that we’ve seen in Edmonton as far as an average is $424,000. We may very well hit that in the next few months. We may hit that by May of this year. It depends on supply and demand.” That high was set in 2007.

For March, there were 1,504 new single-family listings, down from 1,738 in March 2012.

Total new residential listings for the latest month were 2,422, down from 2,847 a year earlier.

“We’re sitting at, I think about 4,600 (total) listings right now and we’d like to see that somewhere around the 6,000 to 7,000 mark.

“We always see an influx of listings come spring so we’re expecting to see more listings, but along with that we’ll see more sales.”

In the condo market, there were 387 units sold in March for an average price of $246,575 compared to 384 sales in March 2012 for an average price of $229,304.

Duplex and row house sales rose to 148 in March, little changed from 147 a year ago. The average selling price in March was $316,110, down from $324,835 in March 2012.

Scott Bollinger, a broker for Commonsense Network, part of real estate company ComFree, said the local trend for the year to date has seen listings down about 10 to 15 per cent.

“Sales have maintained their pace from last year, give or take a few hundred, so that’s obviously putting pressure on prices,” Bollinger said.

“I think it’s under-reported that the market continues to be very strong and that listings are down.”

Bollinger said potential home-sellers may be deterred by national media reports that the housing market is cooling.

“It’s a good reminder to us that real estate is local and what’s happening in Toronto and Vancouver is not necessarily happening to the same degree in Edmonton.”

Headlines about the provincial budget and the bitumen bubble as well as a cold, snowy March may also have curbed listings, Bollinger said.

“As people put more inventory on the market, prices will start to stabilize again.”

© Edmonton Journal, 2013

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