Our Grande Prairie mortgage broker team knows how unsettled the housing market has been with the current worldwide pandemic. Many business sectors are being affected and the housing market is one of them. It’s because of this that we can’t predict what the market will do in the next month or so, and we are waiting for March’s figures to see what impact the pandemic has had so far.
Normally, spring is a peak time for the housing market. In February, it looked like several areas of Canada were heading for a hot season, with the sale of homes close to 27% in comparison to this time last year.
So far, for the Alberta/Calgary region, mid-March has seen home sales up at 7.5% from this time last year. The average time that homes have been spending on the market is 53 days, which is down by 17.19% from last year. The average sales price of homes is at $458,908, a drop of 2.13%, and the median price of homes is at $410,000, a drop of 1.86%. Mid-March saw an increase of 5.53% in new listings, which is at 1,83. Active listings are at 6,083, which is down 5.0%.
Areas like Heritage Point have had average sales prices of $1,066,891 with the lowest price being $639,900. In Strathmore, the average sales price is $504,750, with the lowest price coming in at $100,000.
The Bank of Canada has slashed interest rates by half a percentage point to help the economy. This means a lot of people are considering applying for a mortgage now while the rates are down. For those who already have a fixed-rate mortgage, they won’t benefit from this recent drop. However, variable-rate mortgage holders will benefit from the drop. One word of advice, if you are taking out a mortgage now, is to not spend more than you can realistically afford. Things may be a bit cheaper right now, however, there are concerns about a slowdown in the global economy and the potential for lost jobs. It’s best to make certain that all of your income isn’t being put towards housing and lifestyle, and that you have an emergency fund.
Where Things are Heading
The issues we are having at this time are that many people are uncertain about their cash flow and jobs, making them think twice about investing in homes. Many sellers are wary about having strangers in their homes for viewings, and a lot of open-houses have been cancelled. In some countries, it has been advised that people refrain from moving home at this time.
Saying that realtors, sellers, and buyers are looking to technology to help with viewing homes. A lot of real estate agencies are starting to offer virtual tours to keep social distancing measures in place.
The actions that have been set out by the Alberta Health Services, Canadian Real Estate Association, and Albert Health are being adhered to in order to keep everyone safe at this time. For example, if an open house must be done, real estate agents are making sure that all visitors wash their hands before entering a home and refrain from touching any surfaces. They are making sure to wipe shared surfaces with disinfecting wipes. Other steps they are taking is to limit attendance for open houses to 1 group at a time, asking sellers to disinfect the home thoroughly after an open house, and are asking anyone who attends an open house to alert them if they start to show symptoms of Covid-19.
Saying that many have chosen to put house hunting and selling on pause for the time as we wait out the pandemic and it’s long term effects. Once the monthly figures have come in for March, we may have a better idea of where things are headed. For now, things haven’t come to a halt in the Alberta and surrounding areas housing market, but some experts are feeling that things will start to slow down as the pandemic reaches it’s peak in possible the next 3 weeks. Until then, realtors will do all they can to keep clients and potential buyers safe.
If you have questions about mortgage rates or want some advice, give our Grande Prairie mortgage broker team a call today!