StettlerLocal.com December 9, 2020 @ 3:30pm
The housing market has not slumped, even during the pandemic, in fact people are buying and selling homes and recreation properties.
We spoke to Sherri Kuefler from Royal Lepage, Terry Chelsea from RE/MAX 1st Choice Realty and Tana Nixon from The Mortgage Centre about the housing market in the Town and County of Stettler.
“The reason we are seeing this is that people are working from home and can work from anywhere now said Sherri Kuefler from Royal LePage Stettler. Out here we haven’t had as many people purchasing, as in other rural areas closer to the cities, but people are looking in the Town of Stettler and County of Stettler. The housing market is more affordable in the rural areas and smaller schools are desirable, that draws people to the area. It is still a buyer’s market here, other than at Buffalo Lake. We had a fabulous year out there and it appears to be continuing. There are many snowbirds selling their properties south of the border and choosing to purchase a recreational property closer to home. This does nothing but great things for our community."
Many people are reassessing their lives and moving from the larger cities to a smaller city, town or to the surrounding area.
“It was extremely busy during the early stages of COVID-19 keeping everyone up to date on what lenders were doing, changes from the banks, deferral policies, etc.", said Tana Nixon from The Mortgage Centre. The Stettler market had already started out very strong in early spring, and there were deals on the go when COVID-19 hit. The market cooled off until the first wave lifted and we went into phase two. The summer and fall were very busy and we hit the ground running. Mortgages were being done for people moving out of Stettler and purchasing homes in other towns as well as for current Stettler and area residents. "
It has been steady with refinancing, so the mortgage market is definitely being supported by the refinance and equity take out portion of that market . This is a combination of homeowners wanting to snag the historic low rates on their current mortgages, as well as people refinancing to do renovations during lockdown, creating cash flow to create a fallback in case of job losses or cuts, and paying off higher interest debt. When you’re borrowing money at less than two percent, it can make good financial sense. Mortgage rates are projected to remain low, and there is a good chance that the spring market will see strength. Possible uncertainties in the mortgage and housing market are currently due to the newly announced pandemic restrictions and pending vaccine, however ongoing low interest rates will continue to be a mitigating factor in driving that market.”
The Bank of Canada rate announcement December 9 kept the overnight lending rate unchanged, which is the rate that affects the floating rate products like the Variable Rate mortgages, and Lines of Credit. Projections at this point are that this key rate will remain unchanged until at least 2023, as this monetary stimulus from the government is still necessary. The next Bank of Canada announcement is January 20, 2021.
In 2020, RE/MAX 1st Choice Realty had 14 more properties on MLS sold compared to 2019 within the Town and County of Stettler. Lake properties sold well this past year most likely due to holiday travel restrictions and the ability to work from home. These factors, coupled with historically lower interest rates, are making lake properties an attractive investment opportunity. Acreage sales this year have also been strong. Low- to mid-priced homes within the town of Stettler have been selling well whereas higher-end properties are still in a difficult market. Presently, RE/MAX has lower than normal inventory and fairly reasonable demand, which should help keep the housing market stable.
“Despite the tragic impacts of the pandemic, our optimism in the strength of Canada’s housing market has always remained,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “While we’ve seen a significant shift in buyer preferences this year, we believe factors such as the supply issue, pent-up demand and historically lower interest rates will continue to fuel activity in 2021.”
As we ride out the wave of the pandemic, recent provincial restrictions and impact of the pending vaccine, it’s still looking positive for the housing market in the Town and County of Stettler during the next year. For more information on the Central Alberta market conditions published by the Canadian Real Estate Association, visit https://creastats.crea.ca/mls/redd-market-conditions.
Jody Craig, Reporter