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Real Estate Blog

As I sit on my couch watching the snow fall, I’m reminded by Facebook that I was golfing a year ago on nearly the same day.  I would not have had to use a fluorescent green ball to find it in the snow either.  Winter appears to have come a little early this year.  Our market cools down with the weather and I think it is important that people keep that in perspective when they hear of sales slowing down.

Even so, sales over the past three months have outpaced those of last year and I anticipate the same for October.  It is also a notable improvement from the beginning of 2016 and I maintain that I don’t believe our economy will see the complete effect of the fire until the re-build process is fully underway. I heard recently that approximately 150

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We are back!  I apologize that we did not post an August update but Joelle and I got married at the beginning of that month and things have been very busy.  Not just in our personal lives, but in the real estate market as well.  August saw 90 single family sales go through and if nothing else were listed, it would take six months for everything to sell at that rate (absorption rate).  Anything between three and six months is considered a balanced market.  The initial jump in prices post fire has waned a little but since July, they have been very stable. 

The number of homes for sale continued to rise from June through August as expected, however for the first time since then we have seen a decrease.  This is due to a combination of an increased

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It has been a month since we have returned and what a month it was.  Driving up a familiar highway into something completely unfamiliar, a sense of anxiety and anticipation sat in the pit of my stomach.  I didn’t know what I was coming back to or what would be left.  However, from the moment I got into Fort McMurray I didn’t have much time to think about it.  Between dealing with my own personal insurance claims and helping my clients’ with theirs, it has been an incredibly busy month.  The same has been true of the real estate market and my phone has been ringing steadily ever since we were given the green light to return.  So what has happened so far and what might happen next?

While I have been fielding a lot of calls with people wanting to list

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Well, I would have loved to have started this post with "it's great to be back home" but I'll confess it wasn't quite as I expected. Positively, I was greeted by a fantastic team of people at the welcome center and then I got to wave frantically at our fire fighters on the over-pass in some effort to show my appreciation.  That's where the fairy tale feeling of moving home stopped though.  I was naive when it came to the level of damage to our house, even though it remains standing and appears untouched.  I was naive to how long it would take to repair it and I was unprepared for deciding what to do next given the new circumstances.  I am extremely grateful to be one of the lucky ones to have my house spared but even so, I was brought very abruptly

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I have had a number of people contact me since writing my last blog post.  If you have not had a chance to read what happened to real estate in Slave Lake and what we might expect in our own market, click here to read that post.  People are wondering what might happen if they choose not rebuild on their lot and leave town instead.  Check with your insurance company, but from what I was told by a Slave Lake Realtor, the insurers would only cover the cost of the property and you would be left to sell the lot.  That seems like an obvious assumption, but there are several other aspects to consider.

Firstly, the lot is going to have to be properly prepared for construction again.  This process will take time even though it is likely covered in your

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Photo courtesy of Global News*

Joelle and I would first like to send our thoughts and regret to all those who lost their homes to “The Beast.”  We would like to thank the heroes who bravely defended our city in an absolute mammoth effort.  I can’t imagine it makes the loss of a home any easier but I am sure that our community will pull together and offer the support we are now famous for.  Lastly, thank you to everyone across the country for their unbelievable acts of kindness and generosity in a time when Fort McMurray needed them most.  This entire experience has been incredibly humbling and we can’t begin to express our appreciation enough. 

What to expect?

The road to recovery will be a long one.  Joelle and I took the opportunity to talk to a

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I’ll confess that I am a little late on my blog update this month.  That is because I was not sure what to write about as things really have not changed month over month.  One thing is for sure, we are no where near as busy as we were at this time last year but that was to be expected.  Our April listing numbers remain at the lowest level for 3 years and firm sales seem like they’ll stay stable month over month.  Looking at our market as a whole (single family, condos, mobiles), activity from April 15th-22nd was up with 26 conditional sales which is great to see.  Our average list price is also relatively unchanged and the most in demand portion of our market are homes $500-$600,000. 

What we don’t have this year like we have seen in

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Well we are now mid way through March which is crazy to believe. Our average list price is creeping up again and our sales are looking like they'll remain in line with the beginning of the year.  We are not going to come close to the numbers in March of last year despite the price of oil increasing by nearly 50% from the low.  It will be interesting to see how much of an effect the Suncor/Syncrude contract negotiations will have on our market.  I would imagine that a lot of people are waiting on that outcome before making any decisions as to how to spend their money, rightfully so.  I think we'll see a busier spring market, but it will come a little later this year.   Positively, sales are remaining stable, list prices are slowly increasing and we still

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The other day I had the opportunity to sit down with Karen Wamboldt, account manager with Genworth Financial.  For those of you who aren't aware, Genworth is one of the companies responsible for insuring high ratio mortgages, a mortgage where a buyer is putting less than 20% down.  Their message was that for the most part, its business as usual when it comes approving their clients in Alberta and Fort McMurray. Our market has obviously changed a lot in recent times and with that a few restrictions have come into play, such as their ability to use overtime hours as income for an application.  They look at each file individually to assess its strengths and weaknesses before making a decision of whether or not to approve the mortgage.  It's should also

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Happy new year to you all!  2016 is here and I expect we have another challenging year ahead of us.  Speculation surrounding the world economy and a further fall in oil prices continue. With the sanctions being lifted in Iran, the global supply glut will get larger and our oil prices don’t look to recover in the foreseeable future.  However, with Suncor seemingly agreeing a deal with Canadian Oil Sands, it speaks volumes for their long term confidence and commitment to the oil sands.  So what is our real estate market doing with these things in mind?

December and January are generally quiet months.  We saw our listing inventory drop by a whopping 18% from November. In December of 2014 there were 526 active listings in comparison to 447 in

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