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Edmonton’s real estate market looks to bounce back after sales drop due to COVID-19

Edmonton’s real estate market looks to bounce back after one of its hardest-hit months
WATCH ABOVE: As much of Alberta tries to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, Edmonton's real estate sector is too. After facing a 55 per cent decline in home sales in April compared to last year, according to officials, many realtors are looking forward to a relaunch of their own. Chris Chacon reports.

As much of Alberta tries to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, Edmonton’s real estate sector is among the industries hoping to bounce back.

After facing a major decline in home sales in April, many realtors say they are looking forward to a relaunch of their own.

“Mid-March we got that announcement that everybody needed to stay and work from home and that sort of dropped off, and then we really saw the effects of that impact happening in March in April,” Jennifer Lucas, chair of the Realtors Association of Edmonton, said.

Buyers and sellers started expressing safety fears about touring homes. In the latest report released by the Realtors Association of Edmonton, sales of single-family homes were over 55 per cent in April, compared to the same period last year.

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The average sale price of single family homes is $410,200 — a drop of just over 4.14 per cent from last year.

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“Even though the numbers dropped we didn’t see huge price drops — so this is an industry that bounces back. It just may take a while to do that,” Lucas said.

READ MORE: Alberta’s regional relaunch prompts some Calgarians to travel north for haircuts

With no exact timeline for a market rebound, there has been some indication that things are changing.

“We’re starting to see now that the government has introduced their phase-in plan for the economy, that people are starting to feel comfortable with the protocols we’ve put in place… they’re starting to get their houses back on the market and we’re getting a lot more calls from buyers to start looking at houses,” Lucas said.

“There’s no question this last week, week-and-a-half we’ve had tons of conversations with buyers and sellers that are definitely looking to get going,” realtor Ryan Boser with Sarasota Realty said.

While many realtors switched to virtual showings and assessments during heightened COVID-19 restrictions, they said making such a large transaction could benefit from a more personal approach.

READ MORE: Technology used to overcome impacts of COVID-19 on Edmonton’s real estate market

“Buyers want to physically get through properties just to have that feel, because pictures, video it only tells you so much,” Boser said. “At the end of the day, you really have to see a property and go through a property to get a feel for if its right for you.”

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The province has yet to give the green light on open houses, a step the Realtors Association of Edmonton hopes to see happen in the near future.