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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Strong Market Seen for Edmonton for Next Decade

So the Edmonton Sun just interviewed the new president of the Edmonton Real Estate Board (EREB) who assures us in this article that the market in Edmonton will stay strong for another decade. Let's hope she's right!

Ron Chalmers, The Edmonton JournalPublished: Thursday, January 05, 2006
EDMONTON - The Edmonton Real Estate Board's new president foresees a further decade of buoyant home prices.

"The Bank of Montreal sees 10 years of a strong Alberta economy," Madeline Sarafinchan said Wednesday. "That will definitely help the market."

Edmonton-area residential, commercial, and land sales, through the Multiple Listing Service, totalled a record $4.25 billion in 2005.

Sarafinchan estimated that 92 per cent of all homes are sold through the MLS -- with the balance sold by owners.

Home prices in the Edmonton area averaged $193,934 in 2005 -- up eight per cent from 2004.

During the last three months of 2005, prices averaged $197,945 for all homes -- and $225,709 for detached homes.

By sector, the year's highest average price for a detached home, $299,415, was realized in southwest Edmonton. The lowest average, $140,138, was in central Edmonton.

Even with recent increases, Edmonton prices remain only the 10th-highest in Canada.

Last year, 1,063 homes (including condominiums) sold here at prices under $100,00 -- compared to only 308 such sales in Calgary.

Meanwhile, only seven homes sold in Edmonton, and one in St. Albert, for more than $1 million each -- while 144 million-dollar-plus homes sold in Calgary.

The fastest sellers, Sarafinchan said, are homes with attractive kitchens and bathrooms. She said buyers also appreciate higher-quality materials such as hardwood floors and, in the kitchen, updated cabinets and granite countertops.

During 2005, 18,634 homes were sold through the MLS in the Edmonton area, including St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Morinville. That was up from 17,652 in 2004.

Surging sales depleted the inventory. The number of active residential listings peaked at 4,810 in April, then declined every month to 2,894 in December -- far below the 3,854 active listings in December, 2004.

"New listings usually are low in November and December," said outgoing EREB president Jim Kulak. "We expect the situation to correct itself early in 2006."

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