Edmonton real estate sales see first large drop since start of interest rate hikes

·3 min read
The Realtors Association of Edmonton says the region's real estate market decreased 23.8 per cent compared to June 2022 and 10.3 per cent from July 2021. (Sheryl Nadler/CBC - image credit)
The Realtors Association of Edmonton says the region's real estate market decreased 23.8 per cent compared to June 2022 and 10.3 per cent from July 2021. (Sheryl Nadler/CBC - image credit)

The Realtors Association of Edmonton says the region saw the first large decrease in home sales since interest rates began to rise earlier this year.

Total residential sales in the greater Edmonton area in July dropped nearly 24 per cent compared to June of this year.

The statistics released Thursday also showed new residential listings declined month-to-month since June but saw an overall increase of 6.2 per cent from July 2021.

Paul Gravelle, chair of the Realtors Association of Edmonton, says it's not unusual for July and August sales to drop but he expects the downward trend to continue.

"We're going to see a little decrease but it won't amount to a double-digit percentage. I could see us maybe going down another per cent by the end of the year, and then we're going to see a very busy spring again," Gravelle said.

Across Canada, home sales are down by 24 per cent from this time last year. The national average selling price has lost almost $200,000 since hitting an all-time high of $816,720 in February.

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In Edmonton, single-family homes averaged $489,370, a five per cent year-over-year increase. Condominiums sold for an average of $229,463, seeing a small decrease of 4.4 per cent year-over-year.

Sally Munro, a real estate agent with Century 21 Masters, said she is concerned about upcoming mortgage renewals.

"There will be people that have to make a change, if they're faced with renewing their mortgages and they can't afford the house they're in.

But you can be proactive with managing how you sell your home, how you get into another house, and try hard to avoid foreclosures."

Munro also said since the Bank of Canada began raising interest rates in March, mortgage approvals and Edmontonians "buying dream homes," have become less common.

Economist Robert Kavcic with the Bank of Montreal says that after surging in the pandemic because of low rates, the volume of home sales is now back to about what it was before COVID-19.

But there is still a wide gap between what sellers had gotten used to, and what buyers will now accept.

"The standoff between sellers who need to come to the reality that early-2022 prices don't exist anymore and buyers who simply can't pay as much will continue," he said. "And the process could be drawn out until well into next year."

The Canadian Real Estate Association said Thursday that the number of homes that sold on the real estate group's Multiple Listing Service has now fallen for six months in a row.

But Gravelle said he believes Edmonton's economy is robust enough for the market to withstand inflation and rising interest rates.

"We are still one of the most affordable places to buy a home in Canada, if not in North America. The amount of home that a home buyer can buy in Edmonton is more than anywhere else in the country."