Winter slump affecting housing market more than economy: realtors

As sparkling white snow settles on Stettler and area streets, homes and parks, the real estate market slows down as it does every year.

As sparkling white snow settles on Stettler and area streets, homes and parks, the real estate market slows down as it does every year.

Despite the winter slow down, and despite the tepid economy, it’s been a pretty good year for Fran Snowden at Century 21 Candor Realty.

“It has slowed down,” she confirmed, but added that, “I can’t say if it’s the winter or the economy. I had a really good year until a few weeks ago when it snowed, though.”

Every year during the winter house sales slump, and this year is following the trend. What isn’t following the provincial trend though is that homes in Stettler continue to sell relatively well.

“Lower price homes sell well,” Snowden said. “The higher priced ones are at a bit of a standstill.”

The picture Snowden paints with her observations is very similar to those of realtor James Dadensky, who has worked for more than 20 years in the industry.

“Of course, the recession isn’t helping,” Dadensky said. “But it’s not as bad as people think.”

Business is relatively steady, though like Snowden, Dadensky is now in the midst of the winter slump. During the summer, though, houses on the market didn’t stay there long, he said.

“As long as people price their homes at market value, they will sell,” he said. “It’s when they price high, they don’t. The glory days of house selling is over.”

Dadensky said that there is still a market for the upper-end, executive homes, because not everyone living in Alberta works in the oil industry. He did concede, however, that the prices those homes command is not as high as it would have been a few years ago.

However, the vision of oilfield employees having to sell their homes in droves because of the weak oil markets isn’t quite the case, he warned.

“There are people selling because they’ve lost their jobs, or their severance ran out,” Dadensky said. “It’d be silly to deny that. But it’s not happening as much as you’d think.”