Hous­ing mar­ket down

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Kyle Smylie ThecDrumheller­cMail mailpho­tocby­cKylecSmylie

Drumheller’s real es­tate mar­ket is slow­ing along with the rest of the prov­ince’s, with to­tal sales numbers for the area down over 8 per cent, says a re­port from the re­gion’s real­tors as­so­ci­a­tion pub­lished this month.

The Real­tors As­so­ci­a­tion of South Cen­tral Al­berta re­ports av­er­age sales prices in the re­gion fell 8.2 per cent over last year’s fig­ures, with Drumheller’s av­er­age house price drop­ping 23 per cent, down to $200,019 com­pared to $259,317 from the same time last year. So far, 2016 has seen 44 sales to date, com­pared to 48 sales in 2015, nearly a 10 per cent drop.

The re­port con­trib­utes the drop in Drumheller house prices to the sale of sev­eral older homes on the mar­ket, but lo­cal real­tors ac­knowl­edge real es­tate in Drumheller is go­ing through a mar­ket ad­just­ment where lower priced homes are out­selling higher end prop­er­ties.

“Yes, peo­ple are more cau­tious and cer­tainly it’s a buyer’s mar­ket, but those mar­ket trends change de­pend­ing on sup­ply and de­mand,” said Cen­tury 21 Re­al­tor Karen Ber­tamini.

“Right now there are fewer buy­ers typ­i­cally, and some have moved down a range. You’ve got fewer buy­ers at the higher end.”

Re/max Re­al­tor Ian Cas­sels sees the im­pact of jobs in the oil and gas sec­tor con­tribut­ing to the mar­ket down­turn.

“Peo­ple are a lit­tle wor­ried about their jobs and it doesn’t look like a lot is be­ing sold,” said Cas­sels.

Drumheller’s numbers are in line with prov­ince-wide fig­ures sig­ni­fy­ing a drop in home sales, run­ning 10 per cent be­low the first half of 2015 ac­cord­ing to the Al­berta Real Es­tate As­so­ci­a­tion, with only the big­ger cen­tres of Cal­gary and Leth­bridge see­ing av­er­age res­i­den­tial prices in­creas­ing slightly over last year.

While numbers are down, Ber­tamini feels the di­ver­sity of Drumheller’s lo­cal econ­omy, with tourism, agri­cul­ture, oil and gas, and ma­jor fed­eral and pro­vin­cial em­ploy­ers in the pen­i­ten­tiary and hospi­tal, of­fers greater sta­bil­ity than other cen­tres have.

“Those sec­tors are very strong sec­tors. When one fails, typ­i­cally the rest of them will carry.”

“We have seen a shift, there’s no doubt about that,” she said. “Across the prov­ince is feel­ing hits from the re­ces­sion, but in my opin­ion Drumheller hasn’t felt as much. Our mid­dle end has picked up. Peo­ple may have moved $50,000 down in a house pur­chase, but it seems to be very strong, and peo­ple are still pur­chas­ing. There’s peo­ple mov­ing in and out of our com­mu­nity.”

Re­al­tor Bob Sheddy of rent­drumheller.ca said Drumheller rents have dropped ap­prox­i­mately $25 per month from the same time last year, which has helped at­tract renters com­ing from big­ger cen­tres.

“We have a rel­a­tively low sup­ply of rentals and with the down­turn some res­i­dents have sold their homes and moved into rental prop­er­ties,” he said. “Drumheller is also more af­ford­able to live, so we are see­ing Al­ber­tans mov­ing to Drumheller from more ex­pen­sive cities.”

“We don’t have the big busts and booms like the ma­jor cen­tres, yes we’ve lost some good jobs, but we’re not that bad off,” said Cas­sels. But is it a buyer’s mar­ket? “It’s hard to quan­tify that be­cause you can see there has been a drop at the higher end be­cause there are less buy­ers. I would call it a mar­ket ad­just­ment,” said Ber­tamini.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a buyer’s mar­ket,” said Cas­sels. “It’s just an av­er­age mar­ket right now.”

Peo­ple are a lit­tle wor­ried about their jobs and it doesn’t look like a lot is be­ing sold.... I wouldn’t say it’s a buyer’s mar­ket, it’s just an av­er­age mar­ket right now.”

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