Realtors optimistic about current and future housing market

  • Feb. 17, 2009 3:00 p.m.

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your lifetime.

While questions regarding the type of neighbourhood you wish to live in and features of the house are important, the main questions on the minds of many is cost. The concern of pricing also applies to anyone looking to sell a home. Prices must be set to meet current market guidelines, which can be intimidating. Should you wait to buy or sell your home or is now the time to take action? While decisions primarily depend on individual opinion and circumstance, many of Ponoka’s realtors remain upbeat and optimistic about the market’s current and future state.

“From January 2008 to January 2009 the market has dropped roughly 8 per cent,” said Henry Clarke from Ponoka’s Reality Executives. “Princes are reasonable and rates are tempting however. Rates are as low as they’ve been in my lifetime. If you sell now, you’re not going to get what you would have two years ago, but you will probably get more than you paid for. The market has been selective and people are cautious, but we don’t think this is the big depression. We should start to see things come around by spring,” he said.

“People shouldn’t be afraid of the market right now. The media has hurt it more than anything. While we have seen a decline in some pricing, it has stabilized. We had a growth period and naturally, it has slowed down,” said Sandra Lyon, owners of Ponoka First Choice Reality. Mary Saunders of Ponoka’s John W. Low Agencies agrees.

She wrote on article explaining market tendencies dating back to 2003 explaining how the market kept getting busier and busier and is now just getting back to the basics prior to the economic surge. She was quick to provide interesting yearly statistics of average house sales and costs as well. According to her records, there were eight sales in the month of January of 2008 and 10 sales in January 2009. “We’ve been hearing about the doom and gloom but really, Ponoka is doing well. We’ve always remained consistent. I was speaking with a realtor and friend who said Ponoka never had any big jumps but never had big dumps either.” Saunders also noted that it is important to remember interest rates are going to go up which will make it harder to buy a house in the future. Since more people will be renting, these costs will only increase.

“We seem to be coming towards striking a balance. Right now we have a buyers market, which is good for a lot of folks. The return to this balanced market is a good thing. It opens the door a little wider for first-time homebuyers and reduces the number of bidding wars that can drive up the price of properties beyond what they are actually worth,” said Leslie Hartzell from Caldwell Banker. We’ve had some big years (late 2005 to mid 2007) seeing our economic provincial growth (GDP) in all sectors reach an all time high. That really pushed the limits of manageability in a market. We will continue to see growth nonetheless. Despite the slowdown, and an ongoing recalibration in the oil patch, Alberta continues to lead the country with the lowest unemployment rate. Is very difficult to predict what the market will do… the crystal ball is somewhat cloudy, but on a realistic note interest rates have never been better, property values are more than

fair and our province remains strong,” she said.

Additional agencies were contacted but phone calls were not returned prior to publication. For a complete list of local real estate agents and contact information for them, visit www.ponoka.org.