Monthly home sales in Lloydminster were down 18 per cent in December 2014, while home sales on a national level only faced a 5.8 per cent decline, according to a recent report from the Canadian Real Estate Association.
But Realtors Association of Lloydminster and District board president Michael Dewing says that month-to-moth statistics can be misleading and that overall 2014 was a good year for home sales.
“Yearly we were still up close to 10 per cent,” he said. “That’s the ambiguous thing … you see stats are down 18 per cent from November numbers to December numbers, but 2013 to 2014 we were actually up.”
Dewing says the drop is sales is a seasonal occurrence, due to factors like weather and the holidays. He also says that there are fewer buyers, but also fewer listings, so the market remains balanced.
“Usually we slow down mid-December, and this year we slowed down earlier,” he said. “December and January are certainly not the busy months of the year as a rule. You don’t move in January unless you have to. You don’t move in January for the fun of it. Even the guys who like to speculate in the market don’t usually move in January because it’s just not a fun month to move.”
Dewing says the busiest months for real estate sales are spring and fall and he expects the market to pick back up.
“Lloydminster never does slow down as much as Edmonton and Calgary, just because we’re fairly diverse here, there’s always something going on,” he said. “We’re not saturated, every second house on the block is not for sale, that’s why I always stress that it’s not all gloom and doom.”
Dewing says most buyers research the housing market online and take into account reports by organizations like the Canadian Real Estate Association. He says statistics can make buyers hesitant.
“They think, ‘Maybe I should wait until March,’ and then March comes and a company is doing some hiring and everything’s sold and prices go back up,” he said. “They don’t buy, they want to wait until next month, and next month comes and they realize they’re a month behind and they should have bought last month.”
In these circumstances, Dewing says that buyers should take the long view, rather than think in the short term. He also predicts good things for 2015.
“Real estate as a long-term investment has always paid off. You don’t look at real estate to buy in January and sell in May,” he said. “Real estate as a whole may not increase our usual eight per cent, but it will stay steady. We’re an active area, there’s always people moving around and overall I think it’ll be good for everyone.”