The holiday season always brings us home but this year, we are already home! The nature of the crisis this year has emphasized that home means more. There is no place like home. Even though we love our family members, we all need our space. Families are considering significant lifestyle changes by relocating to less-dense towns and neighborhoods or looking for homes with more workspaces, larger backyards or refinancing and renovating. This has sparked a trend towards larger living space or different layouts within the home, suburban neighborhoods and rural areas. We expect this trend to continue in 2021.
Residential Real Estate Market
Some of this year’s market trends are contradictory and trying to make sense of all the change and uncertainty is not easy. 2021 will be about embracing different opportunities, being resilient in the face of uncertainty and pivoting one’s plans to move forward. We expect the real estate market to remain quite strong for those fortunate enough to work in industries that are currently shielded from job loss, while also being more amenable to remote work and for those ready to invest. Most Canadians still view real estate as one of the best personal financial investment options. Alberta real estate is likely to continue as a balanced market with ongoing economic factors related to the energy sector, job loss and COVID-19 impacts. Record low mortgage rates and different household needs will spur activity. Our forecast is for a year of continued slow economic recovery and relatively steady activity in most sectors of the real estate market.
For the sixth month in a row, sales in Calgary and area recorded a year-over-year gain, the strongest seen in the past five years. Although, the activity has not been strong enough to offset the pullbacks from the spring. Year-to-date sales remain 3% lower than last year’s level; new listings have eased by nearly 10% and are at the lowest level recorded since 2001. This has reduced the oversupply that has been impacting the market for nearly five years. “The gains in sales in the latter part of this year have been a bit surprising considering the job losses and unemployment rate in our city,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “However, it is important to note that the shift to more balanced conditions has been mostly driven by the reduction of supply.”
Agricultural Real Estate Market
If there was a bright side to 2020, it brought us favorable harvest conditions and good prices for both grain and cattle. Land prices in Alberta continued an upward trajectory with a reported 4.9% average increase for the first six months of the year. We must keep in mind that it is an average and not all regions of the province and land types will have benefited from this increase at the same rate. Good quality cultivated farmland has contributed to much of the increase, whereas rough pasture and recreation type land has gone without an increase or seen a slight decline from record high prices in recent years. Most of the land deals contributing to this increase were inked before the Covid-19 outbreak in March, so it will be interesting to see where overall land prices end up at the close of this year. It is our prediction that we will have seen another 2-3% percent overall increase in the last six months of 2020.
Considering listing your land? Would you consider a Land Auction?
Smith & Griffith Real Estate Team was pleased to partner with the Innisfail Auction Mart (IAM) this fall for the sale of a quarter section of land near Caroline, AB by way of live auction. The 90-day presale marketing and live auction process was a great success and led to tremendous buyer interest. The land sold for 1% higher than our initial market evaluation of the land. We look forward to working collaboratively with IAM again and would encourage you to consider contacting us now to discuss the details of your own 2021 sale by auction and/or MLS listing.
Smith & Griffith Family Update
Keeping with tradition, here is a little update on our family. McKenzie came home in March from Ottawa and has worked online to complete her Communications Degree from Carleton University. McKenzie officially graduates this month! She loves being back home in Alberta and we love having her live with us. Cassidy graduated with her Agricultural Management Diploma with a major in Agri Commerce from Olds College in April. She has returned to Olds College this fall, working online towards her Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Agribusiness. Cassidy enjoys a break from her studies by barrel racing at the many jackpots that have been held this year. Matt crossed the border in August to return to Maryville University even though his lacrosse team was unable to practice this fall. Matt loves his new home in St. Louis, settled into his second year and is ready for the lacrosse season to begin in January. Kirsten has taken a gap year after graduating from high school in June. She has been working three part-time jobs, upgrading, and playing lacrosse. Kirsten has received a couple lacrosse scholarship offers from US schools and is currently deciding on where she wants to attend next fall. Dawson also is taking a gap year after graduating grade 12; he has been working, hunting and enjoying the break from school. He is extremely proud of the trophy white-tail deer he harvested this past hunting season. Dawson is enrolled in Olds College for fall 2021 to pursue the Agriculture Management Diploma.
Like everyone, 2020 has been an interesting year for our family with lots of changes and milestones for our family. Unfortunately, we did not get to celebrate those milestones as we would have liked but we are all healthy, hanging in there, and moving forward with our plans. We are immensely proud of our kids and have enjoyed this unique year of being together and spending more time as a family.
From our family to yours, may this Christmas season be full of light and laughter for you and your family.…cheers to eggnog (or your choice of beverage) by the fire, board games, long outdoor walks, and other holiday memories like no other. Good riddance to 2020 – may we gather again in 2021!
Rees & Kari – Opening Gates to the Country & Doors to the City