Edmonton among most affordable housing markets

With a regional economy buoyed by the oil and gas sector and an average single family home price of $384,656 in 2011, Edmonton homebuyers have an open window.


Research released Monday by RBC Economics Research shows a person buying a home in Edmonton would spend 33.8% of their household income on owning a home, on average. That’s up just over half a percent, and still lower than Calgary’s 37.1% - and one of the most affordable housing markets in the nation.


Chris Mooney, president of the Realtors Association of Edmonton (RAE), likes the numbers.


“The numbers show that Edmonton, from an affordability perspective, is one of the national leaders. In terms of being a major municipality, having over a million residents in the metro Edmonton area and having prices as affordable as they are is a real blessing for Edmonton, I think,” Mooney said.


“The last time I checked, Edmonton was running $100,000 less than Calgary,” he said. “I think that’s an indicator of how lucky we are in Edmonton.”


The real estate industry keeps an eye on rental industry numbers, and a lower vacancy rate is encouraging, spurred by a warm oil and gas sector, Mooney said.


“In a market like ours where we’re seeing a lot of in-migration of labor, that’s a strong indicator of future sales ... foretelling further activity in the residential market,” he said, predicting a “bump” in real estate sales within a year.


Keeping an eye on the real estate bubble that burst in 2008, according to RAE figures, in Edmonton the residential sales volume year-to-date has decreased from almost $5 billion in 2007 to $3.4 billion in 2011; however the number of sales is almost the same, near the 1,450 mark, which means the sales-to-listing ratio is up from 36% to 47%.


Sales are taking longer, with the average days on market up at 51 days in 2011 from 30 in 2007.

In Edmonton, the average single family home price shrank from $415,860 in 2007 to $384,656 in 2011. The average condo price went from $274,379 in July 2007 to $224,225 in July 2011.


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