There is an air of optimism in the real estate market as sales are picking up at all levels.
Drumheller, like most of the province, has been in recovery mode as the economy slowly jumpstarts. A bright sign is that real estate has now begun to move.
Heather VanDyk of REMAX Now in Drumheller says there have been 41 sales in the first 130 days of the year and about 116 sales in the last 365 days. Currently, there are about 135 active listings in Drumheller, showing lots of inventory. She says they have seen sales in the lower range with some first time home buyers and others looking to buy revenue properties. She has seen a few sales where homeowners were downsizing, and higher-end properties being sold as professionals move into the valley.
“We are also finding there is a lack of rentals. We do hear people that are looking at buying because there is a lack of properties with three-plus bedrooms and a lack of pet-friendly homes to rent,” said VanDyk.
Another trend she is seeing is owners using properties for vacation rentals. A quick look at Airbnb.com shows about 27 properties in the area.
“Many are opting to Airbnb to offset mortgage cost and take advantage of the tourism industry,” she said.
Stacey Gallagher of Century 21 powerrealty.ca is encouraged by the market beginning to recover, noting in November and December of last year there were only two sales in each month. Part of that recovery has to do with prices falling in line.
“Prices have definitely come down in the last couple years and starting to feel as if it is leveling off, but it's always hard to tell. Things could change at any time. The buyers are back out looking for homes and anything which is priced correctly for the age and condition of the property is selling in a reasonable time,” said Gallagher.
Bob Sheddy of Century 21 powerrealty.ca says there are some bright signs after a long drought.
“I have been in the commercial real estate business in Alberta for over 18 years and these past seven years have been the toughest of my career for our landlords and sellers, but in the last 6 months I feel we have turned the corner,” he said.
In Drumheller, he is seeing some positivity in the leadership.
“The Town administration, Economic Development Office, and Council are all great ambassadors for our community and constantly making connections to bring business to town. It is great to see. And now with a new provincial government, investors are more willing to invest in the future,” he said.
“The Town of Drumheller administration and council have made changes to some of their policies and have introduced new incentives for new businesses that give agents like me something to start the conversation with businesses we want to attract to town. A common phrase around town hall is “we are open for business”.
He says the Downtown core has a new hair salon and a pastry shop being constructed in May to end up filling two previously vacant spaces in the downtown core.
Kelly Boyko of Home-Town Realty is also seeing positive changes.
“It has been a really good start to the year. There are lots of people looking around and lots of sales and showings,” he said.
He is seeing new faces coming to town as well as people moving around town, whether it be upgrading or downsizing. He adds there is inventory at all price points.
“It doesn’t seem like there is any one area that is selling more, it is a wide spectrum,” he said. “We have houses ranging from the starter homes all the way up to executive homes, it’s kind of level throughout.”