A hot Edmonton housing market and an increase in out-of-province buyers is making it tough for some first-time homebuyers. With prices up and inventory low, some are calling for the province to help.
First-time homebuyers Richard and Lisa Acker have been trying to buy a home since before Christmas with no luck.
“Cars lined up and people lined up at the door. It’s kind of shocking. It’s like all of these people are here to look at this one house at this one time,” Lisa said.
The Realtors Association of Edmonton said there are several factors, including limited inventory, contributing to the hot market.
There’s definitely buyers from out of province that are coming here buying property. There’s investors buying brand new homes from builders,” Edmonton realtor Paul Gravelle said.
This week Ontario took action to tax foreign homebuyers to deal with rising house prices.
It’s a move the Ackers would like to see happen in Alberta for buyers who aren’t intending to live in the region they buy property.
“We should have first choice basically and people coming in from the outside should have to pay a tax,” Richard said.
“I don’t think it’s a tax that our industry would welcome,” Gravelle said. “I would say our provincial association would be very much against it.”
Real estate attorney Roberto Noce said this issue has competing interests, and while Alberta doesn’t need a tax right now, it could down the road.
“If they start to see people entering the market for the sole purpose of speculating and holding onto an asset for a short period of time and sell it to make a quick buck, then the government needs to act.”
But that sort of legislation is not in the cards right now.
“We don’t have the same challenges that B.C. and Ontario have and we’re not considering anything like it,” Minister of Finance Travis Toews said.
And while prices may be lower in Edmonton, it’s not making it any easier for the Ackers.
“I saw a place that came up on Realtor.com and it said it had been listed for 38 minutes,” Lisa said. “I called about it and there was already an offer on it… an accepted offer on it in 38 minutes.”