The first full month of COVID-19 affected numbers are in, and sales in Red Deer dropped by 56% compared to 2019. The number of new listings also dropped by 50%. When I looked at sales after the first two weeks of April they were down 70%, so activity actually picked up a little bit towards the end of the month. I noticed an increase in showing activity on certain price points around April 20th, which is also when we had that burst of warm weather that proceeded to melt all the snow. I think after over a month of being cooped up, some people couldn’t resist the draw of the nice weather and started to resume their house hunts.
With the province unveiling their plan to re-open last week, it feels like there might be some hope on the horizon that we will start to see some form of normalcy soon. Although many people will go back to work over the course of the next month, there will still be people who won’t, and others who will go back on reduced or modified hours. We have no way of knowing what the affected percentage of actual home buyers is, and so it’s hard to judge what the market might look like for May, but I’m expecting it will still be at a reduced percentage compared to May 2019. If I had to take a guess, I’d say sales will be down somewhere in the 15% to 40% range compared to a year ago, which will be an improvement over April. If we’re able to avoid a second wave of COVID infections in Alberta, I think there’s a good chance we’ll be very close to back to normal pace by June or July.
With unprecedented times, will come unprecedented stats, and this is the first time in my 14 years that I’ve seen zero acreage sales in a month for an entire county area. While I don’t find it that shocking given the circumstances, it’s just strange to look at a graph with no red sales indicators. I’ve also never seen listings drop by such a drastic margin in the month of April. Typically as we move into spring months our inventory soars upwards, usually peaking around June. We’re currently sitting with 17% less inventory than a year ago, and 7% less than a month ago. This is a combination of the number of new listings dropping (as mentioned above), and sellers concerned about COVID19 taking their homes off the market. It’s important to note as COVID fears start to fade, most of those homes will be re-listed. Vacant homes currently make up 37% of the market.
Quick sales stats for April 2019 vs April 2020 for Central Alberta:
- Sylvan Lake: -23%
- Lacombe: -61%
- Blackfalds: -50%
- Penhold: -66%
- Innisfail: -63%
Many people still need to buy homes, despite current circumstances. Job changes, family changes, relocations, and anything with a time line attached to it haven’t stopped shopping for homes. We did see some multiple offer scenarios on some properties last month, despite everything that’s going on. Many buyers expect a good deal right now, and if the timing and price is right, it’s still possible to see buyers fighting over properties. The homes that offer the best value for the buyers dollar will be the ones that sell the quickest.
We are continuing with our COVID19 protocols on all of our listings and showing processes and will until we’ve confirmed that risks are very low or non-existent. I have found most Realtors have been quite diligent in wearing gloves and minimizing contact when showing properties, however we’re still advising all of our clients to sanitize surfaces after showings, including light switches, door handles, doors, and counter tops.
If you’re interested in getting more information on the market or finding out what your home is worth, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!