Real estate recovery on Alberta’s horizon?

But Real Estate Investment Network's Don Campbell says Calgary and Edmonton are at different points in their recoveries

Don Campbell is senior analyst with the Real Estate Investment Network.

Don Campbell
Don Campbell

Calgary’s Business: Where is Calgary at in the real estate cycle?

Campbell: Calgary’s market right now, from the technical view, is really an interesting study. Despite what the year-versus-year stats are saying, technically the Calgary market continues to operate in the late-slump quadrant of the cycle, with recovery on the horizon but not yet here.

CB: What can we expect for the market for the rest of the year?

Campbell: The rest of the year, the Calgary market is poised to follow its typical pattern with a year-end typical slowdown in sales and listings. This year, which is a year-versus-year trend, we will witness more listings as those who have been waiting on the sidelines to sell see the market confidence increasing and look for opportunity to move their property. This will be combined with approximately the same number of sales.

This will provide a strategic buyer with an opportunity, later in the autumn and winter, to find some hidden gem deals as the new listings that have come on the market in the summer begin to age. Look especially at neighbourhoods serviced by the C-train.

CB: Where is Edmonton at in the real estate cycle?

Campbell: The Edmonton market differs from Calgary quite interestingly on the technical side. Being a government centre with major construction projects buffered Edmonton from the deeper slump that other centres have experienced.

However, that also means that there have not been as many buyers on the sidelines to pick up the sales volume slack that Calgary felt during the downturn. So, despite year-versus-year statistics that may seem counter to this fact, the Edmonton market is in the first phase of the technical recovery.

CB: What can we expect for the market for the rest of the year?

Campbell: All things being equal (i.e. no more major government intervention), the Edmonton market is looking like a good buying time for those who like long-term technicals as the base of their decisions. Close to LRT (both current and future) as well as close to downtown will feel the uptick quicker than most of the other neighbourhoods in the city.

CB: Is this a good time to invest in the Calgary and Edmonton real estate markets?

Campbell: The answer to this really is: It depends. It depends on what the overall goal of the investor is: Do they want cash flow (possible now) or are they just in it for a quick capital gain (less possible now)? Do they have the emotional and financial ability to wait for the full recovery to kick in?

With all of the government, and government bodies, tightening rules and making it much more difficult for the average Canadian to buy a home, we’re witnessing an increase in rental demand with few new rental properties coming on the market. There’s still some slack in the rental market, in both Edmonton and Calgary,  however we will be witnessing a tightening of the rental market over the coming 18 months that will actually be accelerating due to these new government policies. That being said, many strategic buyers of both single-family and multi-family properties are now, once again, adding to their portfolios, positioning themselves ahead of the long-term trend wave.

– Mario Toneguzzi

Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.


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