Well we’ve made it through the holidays, bid a hearty “good riddance” to 2020, and we’ve even cleared Blue Monday. There are Covid vaccines being rolled out. The NHL is back in action. Betty White is still with us. We even had a warmer January than usual. Dare we hope that things are looking up? Are we on our way back to normal? Well, despite all that good news it looks like we are stuck with the bad for a while longer at least.
Since it is a new year, it seems like a good idea to take stock of how things are going. We are all frustratingly familiar with the impact of Covid 19 on our schools, health care system, sports, social lives, etc., and many families have lost loved ones. Normally I try to keep things light and informative, but we need to remember that this is serious business. We aren’t anywhere near normal in the ways that truly matter.
I know that real estate is pretty far down the priority list, but I have had many conversations with people who are worried about their property values and whether there has been, or will be, a Covid-related housing market crash. And this is where we see some more good news. The one nice and “normal” thing about Edmonton’s housing market is that it is delightfully abnormal, at least when compared to the rest of Canada. Our market stood out as an island of stability during the last two recessions, having experienced only mild drops in sales and prices. And sure enough, not even a worldwide pandemic can truly slow us down.
Yes, there was a significant slowdown in the real estate market during the first few months of Covid-related shutdowns, but it roared back to life in the second half of 2020. Just looking at this past December, total sales for the Greater Edmonton Area INCREASED a whopping 31.47% over December, 2019 (pre-Covid). By the end of 2020, total sales for the year were higher than either of the previous 2 years. Comparing the two time frames (December 2020 to December 2019), average residential property prices increased by 2.61%. Days-on-market also DROPPED for single family homes, condos, AND duplexes. So our late fall/early winter was abnormally busy, but it brought the total market activity for the year back to a nice and stable level when compared with previous years. In other words, back to normal.
With incredibly low interest rates, VERY competitive prices for real estate and great opportunities for both buyers AND sellers, the market is humming along nicely. And in our industry, which is deemed an essential professional service, we take Covid precautions quite seriously. So those of you who may be thinking of testing out the market, talk to a professional about the steps that are taken to minimize risks and protect your health and safety.
While Covid continues to cramp our style in so many ways, we can at least rest easy knowing that real estate isn’t one of them. Thank you Edmonton, for being abnormally normal.