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Residential real estate: South-Central Alberta feels oil pinch

Oil seeps into every area of Alberta's economy. The residential real estate market is no different. According to the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA), a sluggish oil industry, more stringent mortgage qualifications, escalating interest rates, all played a part last year in falling sales, especially in places like Fort McMurray and Lloydminster. In fact, sales were down about 18 per cent below a 10-year average in most south-central areas of the province last year.

In Lloydminster, particularly, many homes continue to sit on the market. For the past four years sales continue to be below the average. The glut of homes has caused a decrease in pricing, but buyers aren't biting like they used to. Again, it may be due to outside factors such as a lacklustre oil industry. All these factors aren't helping Lloydminster's realtors.

Dollar volumes have been affected drastically in Lloydminster. When put up against comparable Alberta communities, Lloydminster has a lower dollar volume. When looking at year-to-date and monthly figures, the community's residential dollar volume, average price and total dollar volume just squeezed by south-central Alberta totals.

Alberta residents who are thinking about buying or selling residential real estate may pay attention to outside forces that affect market fluctuations. However, there is no real best time to ink a good deal. But when one is armed with some legal knowledge of the industry, finding the right property can be much easier. A lawyer can not only see a deal to a successful closing, but can also offer advice and guidance during every process of a real estate transaction.

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