Stettler real estate industry on an even keel

Even as the real-estate market crashes in some of the economically hit communities in Alberta, Stettler's market is holding steady.

Even as the real-estate market crashes in some of the economically hit communities in Alberta, Stettler’s market is holding steady and bucking the trend, the community’s realtors agree.

James Dadensky of Re/Max, Apryl Cassidy of Royal LePage and Fran Snowden of Century21 all agreed that Stettler’s holding its own despite the economic uncertainty caused by globally low oil prices.

The effect of the economy is “starting to show, as sales are slowing,” Dadensky said, though he noted that winter’s a time of slowing sales and listings regardless of the economy.

“Stettler’s kind of bucking the trend, as it doesn’t have a lot of places up for sale,” he said. “You’re hearing that homes aren’t selling and it’s becoming a buyer’s market and prices are dropping, but in Stettler, that’s not the case.”

Dadensky said that the larger, more expensive homes aren’t selling as quickly or as frequently as the lower-priced, reasonably affordable mid-range homes, which go on and off the market pretty quickly.

“That market is still there,” he said. “It’s hard to predict what’s coming for the year, too, since Stettler’s bucking the trends in the province.”

Snowden agreed, noting that, “everyone’s got to have a roof over their head. Homes are still selling.”

She said that contrary to a lot of realtors across the province, her branch did very well over the past year. The slowdown the realtor is experiencing now is in-line with the slowdown that happens during the colder months of the year.

“No one wants to move in the winter,” she said. “I don’t blame them.”

Stettler’s realtors as a whole don’t specialize, meaning the agencies sell commercial, residential, industrial and agricultural properties. That diversity in property options has helped buoy the businesses as oil prices crashed and people began being laid off, as both sellers and buyers aren’t necessarily all oil industry people.

“We’ve definitely been bolstered by the diversity in the community,” Cassidy said. “We’re pretty stable because of that.”

Cassidy said she’s definitely noticed a slowing of business greater than that typically experienced over the winter months, but suspects when spring comes around and temperatures rise, the sellers and buyers will be coming in. Still, Cassidy said she and her colleagues are ready and prepared for a slower-than-usual year — though Stettler’s nowhere near as bad as oil-reliant communities like Peace River and Fort McMurray, or the larger cities like Edmonton and Calgary, where realtors may specialize.