Eldon Lemaigre trims drywall to put up in a house on the corner of 10th Street and Second Avenue East. Herald photo by Kristina Jarvis
The real estate picture in Prince Albert looks a whole lot better than it did a year ago, said an industry official.
Kevin Wouters, the new president of the Prince Albert and District Association of Realtors, said the issues that were starting to plague the area at the start of 2009 were gone by the start of 2010.
"Our little setback happened in November and December (2008)," he said. "Overall, our number of sales went down (in 2009), but the dollar value has gone up."
According to statistics released by the association, Prince Albert saw a grand total of almost $165 million in real estate sales last year, up four per cent or almost $6.9 million from 2008. The average house price rose about $18,000 to $198,132, continuing a trend of steady average housing prices on the rise in the area, something Wouters said was not a surprise to him.
"I think that Prince Albert has been underpriced more than other markets," he said. "The prices here have been a market correction more than speculation."
The number of houses sold in 2009 dipped slightly, to 740 from 759, or a drop of three per cent in the area. At the start of 2010, Prince Albert and area had 659 active sale listings, up from the 585 at the start of 2009.
Although Wouters said that November and December are traditionally slow times for real estate sales, he added that the slowdown in 2008 was a little more harmful to the housing market in Prince Albert than in past years. However, he said he believes 2010 will prove to be a better year for the area, which now includes realtors as far away as La Ronge and Turtle Lake.
"With the interest rates low, and word that the Bank of Canada may raise interest rates, there is good incentive to buy," he said. "The market in Prince Albert has been pretty steady."