South Peace News
Realtors serving the High Prairie region are optimistic for a strong year for sales in 2023.
Grassroots Realty Group realtor Misty Gaudet says the local office has already been busy with multiple sales and new listings.
“Last month was my busiest January since I became a realtor in December 2016,” Gaudet says.
She expects it will get only busier.
“With the increase in interest rates in 2022, the prediction was that the housing market would drop off dramatically,” Gaudet says.
“It is true that is has decreased buying power for some, but we are seeing home purchases nonetheless.”
Sales of commercial property is also on the rise in the region.
“The recent opening of new businesses in High Prairie and the change of hands of current long-time businesses is keeping the momentum strong,” Gaudet says.
“With all the recent economic stimulation in High Prairie, I am excited to see the continued advancement 2023 brings to the table.”
Royal LePage PVR Realty broker-owner Debbie Nelson is also anticipates an increase in real estate activity in 2023.
“We have already noticed an uptake in the market in January, which is usually a quieter month,” Nelson says.
“Alberta is notably the place to be at this time; be it for available jobs or the recreation and peacefulness of smaller communities that High Prairie and Big Lakes County has to offer.”
She says the market has caused a mix of excitement as some new projects in High Prairie and the region are nearing completion.
“Along with this excitement, is of course, some hesitancy due to rising interest rates,” Nelson says.
“Although the previous lower rates were ideal purchasing rates, they were not realistic and were bound to move up from there.”
Current rates are still within reasonable rates as long as they don’t increase, she notes.
“It’s all the more reason for people to purchase a home now and not take that chance,” Nelson says.
People looking to rent a home are still restricted.
“Rental requests were still very high in 2022, especially in the fourth quarter and demand for rentals is increasing daily as we go into 2023,” Nelson says.
“We still have an extreme shortage of modern rental units in High Prairie.
“People relocating to High Prairie for work and wanting a short-term family rental depending on job probation prior to purchasing a home are not finding rentals sufficient for their purpose.”
Looking back at 2022, the market started moving after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in March, she says.
“Residential sales were strong in the first and second quarters with selling prices ranging from $200,000-$400,000 and tapering off in the third and fourth quarters,” Nelson says.
Bare land property was another strong draw in a price range of $100,000-$400,000 peaking in May and then falling off.
“This interested was generated by people looking to northern Alberta for its wide-open space and recreation after COVID restrictions and a piece of land to escape to,” Nelson says.
Farmland and commercial property experienced a small increase, notably in the agri-business market, she says.
Century 21 Sunnyside Realty broker-owner Gord Olson also projects a strong year ahead.
“I think 2022 and 2023 has seen the biggest commercial venture improvement in many years with new business development occurring on both ends of town,” Olson says.
“Than means more jobs, a better economy and should mean more home buyers as well.
“I’m feeling pretty optimistic about our community.”
He says interest rates are helping the market.
“As the interest rate hikes seem to be moderating slightly, as well as the inflation rate, mortgage brokers are still able to get remarkably good rates on mortgages, which in turn should keep the market excited and vibrant,” Olson says.
He says 2022 was a stronger year for real estate than 2021 with a modest increase in the number of homes sold.
“Prices were consistent with modest gains earlier in the year and holding steady later,” Olson says.
Later in the year, interest rates seemed to be more on peoples’ minds and on their TV screens every night. It may have taken some enthusiasm out of some buyers.
“However, High Prairie prices are still quite cost effective compared to many towns. . .”