August was the best month the housing market has seen in a while. Despite what is happening in Alberta and the rest of the world at the moment, it seems the real estate market is continuing to rally, particularly in the central part of the province. Home sales were up 22% this past August from the previous year with 493 homes sold as opposed to 407 sold in Aug. 2019.
One of the most well-known and whimsical properties in the province is now on the market. Known as the Hobbit House, this little piece of real estate tucked away in the foothills of Alberta is for sale. The home was built into a hillside near Millarville in 1971 and has never been on the market before, but the owners are selling to be closer to family elsewhere.
There's something to be said for living in the country. And it seems many Alberta residents are gravitating to more rural settings by the recent surge in real estate sales in those areas. Realtors believe that more people want to get back to basics in light of what has been happening in the world and a rural setting is the place where they can grow their own gardens, raise some chickens for fresh eggs and generally experience a more laid-back existence.
There's a new way of buying land and it seems to be working out well. With things the way they are right now in the world, people have had to think of new ways to do things and that also goes for the sale of real estate in Alberta. People interested in buying land usually have a walk around it, but on-line auctions for acreages in the province are taking off like wildfire.
The province is doing some restructuring of its real estate regulator, less than a year after it gave the former regulating board the heave ho last October. Bill 20 is on the table and it sets out reforms to the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA), which licenses and regulates realtors in the province. It is hoped that with restructuring RECA will have improved transparency, accountability as well as a better governance system in general.
First quarter office sales in Cow Town are looking pretty positive. The overall real estate market in the province and around the country has taken a pounding amid a global pandemic, but the first numbers in from the office sector in Calgary look pretty encouraging. Commercial real estate sales rose about 17% in the city in the first three months of 2020 compared to the same time in 2019.
Despite the beating the economy has been taking, the housing market is slowly rallying. For the second consecutive month, real estate sales have improved in Alberta. That's partly due to numbers coming out of Calgary and Edmonton. Even with those gains, however, activity is nearly 3% lower than at the same point last year.
The economy continues to take a pounding. There are many variables affecting the Alberta economy at the moment and the real estate industry has not escaped any of them. Office buildings stand empty in Calgary and other areas of the province, and homes that have been on the market for months still aren't seeing any action. Landlords are taking a pounding and analysts can't say when things might change.
Home sales are being dampened by even more hurdles these days. With things like social distancing in place along with falling oil prices, the real estate market in Alberta continues to take a hit. Lower inventory, weak activity, job layoffs and a lax oil market haven't done the market any good and things aren't likely to change drastically over the next while, according to analysts.
Sales are up in Cow Town's housing market, although levels are still nowhere near what they were in the latter part of the 1990s. Although the real estate market has been rallying in Calgary and in other areas of the province, it's not near the level it was moving into 2014, prior to the recession. Analysts say the good news is the market is continuing to move toward balance between inventory and sales.