After a significant economic downturn, the Edmonton real estate market is regaining stability and starting to pick up again. We’ve reached out to expert agent Chrystal Smith for a few predictions for 2017 in the Edmonton housing market, and some advice for home buyers looking to make a purchase in the near future. Her thoughtful insights are encouraging!
Tell us a few words about your job as a real estate professional. What do you love most about your job?
As a real estate agent, I’m involved in someone’s life during one of its most important times! I take it very seriously, to make sure I help the client as best as possible, with as little stress as possible. I love to help people; that is my greatest joy in being a real estate agent. Knowing that I was able to help the client move forward towards a dream is always the most satisfying part of the job.
What can we expect in terms of prices and inventory in 2017 in Edmonton?
In 2017 prices are expected to stay very stable, and similar to prices in 2016. However, in February prices were up 2%, and inventory was down about 500 properties year-over-year, meaning there were 500 fewer properties for sale than at the same time last year.
Edmonton’s economy is expected to improve throughout 2017, creating much more confidence in the housing market. With less inventory on the market than last year, we may see a 1-2% increase in overall property prices by the end of the year.
Have you spotted any trends in the Millennials’ attitudes towards home ownership? Are parents also involved in their home buying process?
Millennials are excited to be home owners, they understand it’s a great investment for their future in pursuit of financial freedom. Millennials will include their parents and friends for advice quite often, and will consult reviews online if looking at a specific builder.
Are your clients interested in buying homes that need restoration, or do they prefer buying renovated homes?
I find most buyers these days want to find a home with as little restoration needed as possible. After working all day, buyers just want to go home and relax, instead of also having to work on the house. So most buyers at any price point will look for properties with as little work to do as possible.
Builders have recognized this as well, and over the last few years have raised their minimum standards, from carpet and linoleum, to high end laminate, ceramic tile and quartz or granite. Luxuries at all price points are appreciated.
Are home buyers in Edmonton buying properties in foreclosure or are they avoiding them?
Foreclosures are always a little more risky for your average buyer to get involved with. There are 2 different types of foreclosures: bank owned and court owned.
The main difference between them is the bank foreclosures can be treated similarly to a transaction with a regular seller, since you are able to negotiate directly with a person, and can still have conditions on the offer, such as subjecting the property to a home inspection. However, with a court owned property, offers must be unconditional, making them more risky for the buyer.
Most buyers of foreclosures are seasoned vets, understand the risks, and have the capital to cover any surprises. Most average buyers will avoid the foreclosures and their risks.
How should buyers prepare for the home buying process? Any tips you’d like to share?
Buyers should always get a mortgage pre-approval first, from a mortgage broker. I always recommend a mortgage broker over a bank specialist, as the mortgage broker can compare all banks at once, instead of proposing just what one bank has to offer.
Also get familiar with the location in which you would like to purchase; drive the streets so you’re comfortable with the neighborhood.
Then become familiar with what average prices are for that area, and the type of property you are looking for. Usually, casually looking over an online real estate portal like Point2 Homes over a couple months will give you a great idea of what to expect to get in your most desired area. Then call your REALTOR© to take you through the properties and home buying process.
That’s it! You’re a new home owner!
Chrystal Smith has been a licensed agent since 2010, and got her first award just a year later, becoming part of the RE/MAX Executive Club. She’s been a top producer for five years straight, and has received referrals from 90% of her past clients.