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Edmonton-area real estate market hot despite COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video 'Summer real estate booming in Edmonton after slow spring due to COVID-19' Summer real estate booming in Edmonton after slow spring due to COVID-19
WATCH ABOVE: After a slow spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, home sales in the Edmonton area have increased significantly over the summer. Sarah Ryan has the details.

According to the Realtors Association of Edmonton, even though concerns remain over the coronavirus pandemic, residential sales in the city and surrounding areas are up this summer.

In the first few months of the pandemic, sales were down more than 35 per cent from March to April. But they’ve since rebounded and then continued to grow.

In May, the housing market shot up more than 54 per cent compared to April, and in June they rose again, up more than 77 per cent. Those sales held steady, increasing slightly in July.

Residential home sales were up nearly 14 per cent in July 2020 compared to last July.

Homes are also selling faster. On average, a single-family home is selling in 49 days — eight days faster than this time last year.

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Reema Kaushik is a top-ranking mortgage advisor for CIBC.

“We were quite worried in March when the pandemic started. We thought that people would be scared to buy a home,” she said, joking that she thought she’d have time to try out new recipes on YouTube.

But instead, she’s busier than ever.

“I think one of the biggest reasons is the competitive rates that every lender is offering. We’ve never seen such great rates — ever,” Kaushik said.

She also points to an incentive by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for getting new buyers into the market.

“It allows first-time home buyers, within a certain eligibility criteria, to borrow five per cent for existing homes and 10 per cent down payment for new construction homes.”

New construction mortgages are Kaushik’s specialty.

“I was talking to one of my builder partners when they told me they’re completely out of existing home inventory, which means there’s no quick possession left.”

READ MORE: Edmonton sees growth in population, disposable income, new housing inventory: CMHC

This summer has also been a whirlwind for YEG Pro Realtor Reanna Bowden.

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“It’s extremely busy,” she said. “I’ve been a realtor in Edmonton for 15 years and by far this is the busiest June [and] July I ever saw.

“It’s 16-hour days — non-stop — to get my clients to where they want to be.”

As for Bowden’s take on the sudden jump in home sales?

“I think our spring buyers that were maybe on the fence, not buying in the spring, just jumped on top of our June [and] July buyers, so it was a frenzy.”

In a single month, Bowden said her clients found themselves in multiple-offer situations four times.

READ MORE: Economic factors preventing Edmontonians from home ownership: CMHC

One of those clients was Hana Price. She was one of five people to place an offer on a particular house in west Edmonton in June.

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“I thought that the real estate market was not going to be that hot, especially with COVID(-19),” she laughed.

Price said her boyfriend’s house sold pre-pandemic, but they weren’t comfortable shopping when COVID-19 hit.

“There’s uncertainty with employment at that time,” she explained.

“And just kind of not really wanting to leave your house and go into somebody else’s house.”

Price ended up getting the house she wanted, but had to pay $25,000 over the asking price.

She said if you’re interested in buying, she has some advice.

“Move quick. Don’t think about it for too long, because you might lose out.”