Optimism after months of bleakness in one major market

With oil prices slightly rebounding, can Alberta-based brokers expect business to follow suit?

Optimism after months of bleakness in one major market
Brokers in Alberta are already noticing an uptick in sales – pointing to low housing prices encouraging fence sitters to buy into the market.

“I’ve noticed that prices are going down a little bit and there are certainly more listings,” Steven Crews of Verico iMortgage Solutions told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “I’ve had a few clients who have been a little pickier about what they’re choosing to purchase, but they’re still moving forward with the purchases. In the last few weeks, I and a few others have started getting busy again, which is a good sign.”

Crews believes a decline in prices is now encouraging homebuyers to hop into the Calgary market.

“They think prices are good now,” he said.  "And if it’s going to be a principal residence, you’re going to pay whether its rent or a mortgage and it’s hard to time the market.”

Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage and Brookfield Real Estate, believes Calgary’s market will avoid the kind of correction it suffered in 2008 if oil prices continue the direction in which they are currently trending.  

“If oil prices continue to do what they’ve done in recent weeks, which is inch up – we’re now about 25 per cent off the bottom,” Soper told MBN sister publication, Real Estate Professional. “If it continues to creep up, we may well see Calgary avoid a reset in home prices.”

Soper believes the fact that housing prices haven’t fallen dramatically is a good indication of the market is still in a strong position.
It’s good news for brokers who have had to deal with uncertainty in these oil-dependent regions.

Alberta saw a 20.3 per cent decrease in sales, year-over-year in March, and Calgary saw sales slip 30.1 per cent year-over-year.