The Realtor’s Association of Canada is predicting that Edmonton will be a “buyer’s market” for much of 2016, which is a good thing for people who are looking to purchase a new home, but bad for those who are wanting to downsize, sell, or move. But just because it could be a buyer’s market doesn’t mean that real estate in Edmonton will be on the decline. In fact, many real estate professionals remain confident that Edmonton could experience growth this year. It will probably be minor, but it’s a reason to remain optimistic.
Edmonton’s chief economist, John Rose, spoke to the press last week about the real estate market and Edmonton’s unique place in Alberta’s economy. “While you’re going to continue to see some very negative numbers and some very negative commentary about the province as a whole,” Rose told , “People have to bear in mind that Edmonton is a bit of an island in the storm.”
By “island in the storm,” according to Rose, comes down to a projected growth this year of nearly 0.5 percent for the city and slightly lower for the surrounding area. It’s a modest growth to be sure, but much better numbers than other parts of the province where falling oil prices have led to falling real estate prices. Part of a reason for the growth is how localized the damage to the economy lies. While the oil sector is falling, other industries like the health industry are actually growing and, with it, bringing home buyers into the area. The low interest rates and wide availability will also help with growth, according to the RAC and Rose.
The main obstacle to overcome, it seems, is buyer confidence. Faced with more vulnerable working situations, lower wages, and a shakier economy, many people are unwilling to make the step into home ownership. But Todd Hirsch, ATB Financial’s chief economist, says Edmonton’s a safer region than most. “I do see the Edmonton real estate market faring generally in better shape than Calgary or Fort McMurray this year,” Hirsch said, “… I don’t see the downturn in the real estate market in Edmonton to be as severe as it will be in other parts of the province.”
Either way, the Edmonton economy and real estate markets have very good reasons to stay cautiously optimistic in the coming months.