Sales in Red Deer in the first quarter of 2017 were down from the same time in 2016 by 14.5% which is a little surprising considering the Alberta economy is supposed to be on the mend. There are a couple of facts that will help in understanding this trend. First, there is more activity in Red Deer than last year, but it hasn’t translated into firm sales yet. At the end of March, there were a large number of pending sales that should help boost April’s numbers closer to normal. Second, an improving economy normally doesn’t translate into an active housing market for a while. The housing market typically lags as much as a year behind the economy.
The number of active listings is down compared to the same time last year, which is a good sign that the market has survived quite well in spite of the economic situation. One of the reasons the Alberta housing market has survived as well as it has is that in spite of what we’ve been experiencing here, the net population losses have been minimal. According to ATB’s The Owl, over the last five quarters of recession, we’ve suffered a net population loss of only 11,000 people.
Compare that with the 20 quarters leading up to the 4th quarter of 2015 when Alberta welcomed more than 133,000 net new people to Alberta. So, in spite of all our recent troubles, Alberta is obviously still a great place to live.