Buying a home remains the one sure investment for a family and understanding the local market helps decide when to buy.
A recent fact sheet distributed by the Central Alberta Realtors Association shows 2012 home sales for the region. The area covers Ponoka, Blackfalds, Camrose, Innisfail, Lacombe, Rocky Mountain House, Stettler and Sylvan Lake. President Ken Devoe said 2012 was a positive year for buyers, “because of continued great interest rates and our strong economic area.”
Despite that strength, Ponoka saw 84 homes sold in 2012 compared to 97 in 2011. However the average selling price last year was $229,676, in 2011 the average price was $225,799.
Each community’s market is different, he added. “Every city/town has a unique market and all have different motivations affecting it.”
Shawna Low, of John Low Agencies, is unsure why there was a drop in Ponoka home sales this year. “There doesn’t seem to be one thing that we can point to.”
A slight annual increase in property value is generally a positive sign but Low suggests too great of a jump makes buyers hesitant.
“It depends on who in the market is buying,” stated Low.
Even though Ponoka’s sales dropped, there were 18 new housing starts — valued at $4,325,000 in Ponoka last year — an increase of two over 2011, valued at $3,289,970. The most starts were in September with four new homes valued at $1,185,000.
Steady growth in the central Alberta real estate market matched the energy sector, Devoe stated and he feels the same thing will happen in 2013. “There is no reason not to believe our central Alberta market will be strong.”
Low believes Ponoka should see a similar increase but perhaps not at the same level of Blackfalds and Lacombe because of their proximity to Red Deer.
Devoe feels sure enough about the market that he forecasts six-to seven per-cent increase with 4,500 sales in the area, however he believes inventory will decrease.
“I see a more balanced market for buyers and sellers alike. I believe the past eight years remains in the consumer’s mind. We are seeing a more cautious buyer and lower debt ratios are coming around,” explained Devoe.