While the housing market is down in much of Alberta, it seems Ponoka is more normal than others.
Dale Russell, broker in charge of Remax Ponoka and six other central Alberta agencies, explained that recent news showing the local market in decline is a bit of a misnomer.
“Residential sales, in town, this past June compared to the same month last year went from 10 down to seven, but while that sounds dramatic its not really reflective of the market,” Russell said.
“Sure, if a 33 per cent decline happened in a market where there were hundreds of sales, then there’d be a reason to be concerned.”
To illustrate that, Russell stated Ponoka saw 10 sales in each of July and August followed by 15 houses sold in September, totalling 87 sales during the first nine months of 2016. That compares to a total of 84 sales over the same period last year, which translates to a 3.6 per cent hike in home sales, something Russell noted only Ponoka and Blackfalds markets in central Alberta can show.
Overall, said Russell, central Alberta sales are down 12 per cent — with Rocky Mountain House and Sylvan Lake both down the most at 28 per cent.
The dive in the oil and gas industry is what he believes is causing at least some of these affects.
“There is no question (the price of oil) is having an affect. And yes, sales are down compared to two years ago, but 2014 was the best year we’ve seen since 2007. There was a significant fall in 2015, but this year things are just going back to what normal is for the Ponoka market,” said Russell.
In addition, Ponoka is close to a balanced housing market according to Russell. That means the sales-to-listings ratio ranges between 20 and 40 per cent, and Russell stated that ratio for September worked out to 19.3 per cent.
“That’s the second highest month for this year. That suggests the market is not nearly as bad as people perceive it to be,” he said.
“When you drill down into the local market statistics, it’s positive and the numbers speak for themselves. Supply and demand is narrowing and we are closer to balance than we were in June.”