By Collin Gallant on November 11, 2017.
Medicine Hat’s real estate market remained active through the early autumn, putting it on pace to have its second best whole year since at least 2011.
The late season strength however, could be a push by first-time buyers to get in before new, stricter mortgage rules come into effect in 2018, or a continuation of a solid year, say officials.
“So far in general it’s been a good year for Medicine Hat,” said Brooklyn Kalista, president of the Medicine Hat Real Estate Board. “We’re hoping that can continue for the remainder.
“The average sale price is up slightly and our sales total is up. It’s a positive showing.”
At Oct. 31, total receipts were $356.7 million. That’s up about 8 per cent over last year and second only to the 10-month total in 2014, a boom year when $418 million in homes, condos and commercial real estate changed hands before the snow flied.
November-December traditionally mark the beginning of the slowdown in sales — the logic being that sellers get underway in the spring, for buyers who would prefer to move over the spring and summer.
This year’s gains in October come after a stronger than previous September, and just months before a new stress test required on uninsured mortgages takes effect. Basically, a mortgage payer with more than 20 per cent down will also have to prove they can handle higher interest rates, if they rise.
Kalista said both factors could eventually hamper the market in centres across Canada.
As well, a ticking clock on historically low interest rates at present, could be encouraging buyers to get pre-approved now.
“Whether it’s a last push in the year or coming from changes in the new year; people might be a bit more trigger happy to get things locked down,” she said.
“In general though, home ownerships still seems to be desirable.”
Specific to last month, a total of 94 single-family homes sold during the period, ten more than in October 2016, and the corresponding value rose by $5.1 million to $29.9 million.
Condo and townhouse units rose more slightly, up four units and about $800,000, year-over-year, to sit at 25 units for $6.9 million.
Four vacant lots also sold during the period, at an average price of $125,000. Two newly built homes sold on MLS listings. That brings the 2017 total to 19.
Two multi-family complex sales fetched $1.54 million, and $890,000 in commercial property sales added to the monthly total.
Over all sectors, $39.7 million was realized on 133 sales during the month. The same figure from October 2016 was $31.9 million.
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