Alberta prices hit by oil crunch

by Jordan Maxwell27 May 2015
Home prices in Alberta will dip over the next two years as the impact of lower oil prices has finally caught up to the energy-producing province, according to CMHC.

“If people need to sell fairly quickly, it’s likely they will have to reduce their price,” said Sherilynn Milson, owner of QDHomeQuest and real estate investor told REP's sister publication CREW.

“It’s a challenging market right now if you’re trying to sell, because nothing is moving very quickly. The prices haven’t really decreased that much, but the market is soft right now.”

The comments come as Alberta has been throttled by a near 44 per cent drop in crude oil since last June, and companies have shut down in the wake on a lower dollar.

In Alberta, housing starts totalled 40,590 in 2014, but are forecast to decline and range from 31,900 to 36,500 units in 2015 and between 27,700 and 33,300 in 2016.

After increasing to 71,773 in 2014, MLS sales in the province will decline and range between 52,000 and 60,500 in 2015 and between 52,700 and 61,500 in 2016. 

“Low energy prices continue to dampen the outlook in the oil and gas industry as companies reduce capital expenditures and downsize demand for labour and services,” said Lai Sing Louie, CMHC’s regional economist.

“This will continue to contribute to slower employment growth and net migration in energy driven economies like Saskatchewan and especially Alberta.”

Homes prices in Calgary bared the brunt of the impact, dropping 1.5 per cent to $448,200 in April from November, according to recent CREA figures. Despite what appears to be a bleak outlook, prices are still up 2.2 per cent from the same period a month ago.

In regards to sales, housing sales fell the most on record in December and January, and declined 28 per cent in April from the prior year, according to CREA.

Meanwhile, the CMHC painted the province with a familiar brush: Alberta’s struggle is another province’s gain as housing starts slow slightly this year and 2016.

“A slowdown in housing starts and resale transactions in oil-producing provinces such as Alberta will be partly offset by increased housing market activity in other provinces, such as Ontario and British Columbia, which benefit from the positive impacts of declining energy prices, a lower Canadian dollar and continued low mortgage rates,” CMHC's chief economist Bob Dugan said in a statement.
 

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