Edmonton housing forecast blog - part 1 A look back at 2020

A look back at the year that was 2020

Earlier this month the Edmonton Real Estate Association held their annual Real Estate Market Forecast where they bring in economists from various levels to share their thoughts about what is happening in our city, province and even across the country. Today, I will share about the year past. What was expected, and what turned out to be a curve-ball of a year that took just about everyone by surprise. 
Wow! What a year 2020 turned out to be. From the panic of the early days of the pandemic, to the economic upswing of the summer, things this year in real estate could hardly be described as “predictable.” In fact, the word used so often this year was “unprecedented,” as pointed out by the past board chair of the Realtors Association of Alberta, Jennifer Lucas. 

With so many changes shifting the landscape of how realtors in Alberta do business, she explains, it was a wonder the industry pressed forward against the challenges it faced with the level of resiliency and fortitude that it did. As the members of the Realtors Association of Alberta embraced the ever-changing restrictions and policies put in place by the government, deeply motivated to adapt in order to keep clients and the public at large safe, the real estate market in Edmonton took an unexpected upturn in the summer. 

“I’m extremely proud of how our industry has responded,” said Lucas.

This increase had been projected by the board in 2019, but that was well before anyone had factored a global pandemic into the mix. Little did they realize their predictions would be so accurate despite the skeptical predictions from economists around the world.

Starting in the summer and increasing into the fall, the local and national housing markets saw record breaking-highs through the latter half of the year. The sudden adoption of working remotely as well as lockdowns that saw people confined to their homes for long stretches at a time created new needs and preferences, and suggested that the interest in single-family homes was on the rise. These changing preferences were met with record-low interest rates from the banks, which nudged people into the real estate market. The combination of these factors helped to stabilize the housing market despite “all of the uncertainty of our pandemic year,” Lucas explained. 

No one could have anticipated the type of year the real estate market in Edmonton was going to have in 2020, but when the final numbers came in, Lucas reports that every category of home, from single-family to duplexes, surpassed the forecasted numbers, except for condominiums, which came in just shy of what was being forecasted for them for the year. To put it in perspective, in the photo below, for quarter 3 of 2020, September had shown a 36 % increase in unit sales over 2019. THIRTY SIX PERCENT!

Sales up 36% in september 2020 compared to the same month in 2019

Lucas suggests that the mild decrease in demand for condominium properties was unsurprising, as many condominium owners took advantage of the incredible interest rates and upgraded. And why not? This shift from condo to single-family homes really helped single-family homes not only to increase in the amount of them sold in Edmonton, but also helped their average prices to go up a bit as well. 

All-in-all, Edmonton took on the challenges of 2020 with incredible resilience and flexibility, qualities that helped the real estate market not only survive the uncertainty and fear of a global pandemic, but thrive in the face of it. “Realtors and real-estate transactions are key components to a healthy economy and thriving communities,” Lucas said.

Stay tuned for Part 2...

Posted by Corey Sylvester on


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