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Real estate prices rise in region

Real estate selling prices are up in the Lakeland for the first five months of 2010, particularly in the Town of St. Paul and the M.D. of Bonnyville.

Real estate selling prices are up in the Lakeland for the first five months of 2010, particularly in the Town of St. Paul and the M.D. of Bonnyville.

Stats from the Northeastern Alberta Realtors Association show the average selling price of a single-family home/acreage in the MD jumped about 15.9 per cent in the first five months of 2010, up from $284,041 in the same period in 2009 to $329,157 in 2010. The number of transactions in the MD was also up in the five-month period, from 68 to 83.

The average sale price for a home in the Town of St. Paul jumped 11.0 per cent in the same period, from $230,403 in 2009 to $255,775 in 2010. Those prices are based on 29 transactions in 2010 and 40 for the same period in 2009.

Average sales prices also increased in the Town of Bonnyville and the City of Cold Lake, though by lower percentages.

Cold Lake's average selling price for the period was up 5.3 per cent, from $305,612 to $321,839, while Bonnyville's average price was up 4.93 per cent from $275,421 to $288,995. Bonnyville realtors, however, weren't getting rich, with sales numbers down dramatically in town, from 111 sales in the first five months of 2009 to only 43 in the first five months of 2010.

The number of sales increased about five per cent in Cold Lake and about 22 per cent in Bonnyville.

Property in the County of St. Paul was also drawing greater buyer interest through the association, with 15 sales for the five-month period in 2010 recorded by the realtors association, versus only five in the same period in 2009. The average County of St. Paul selling price was up dramatically as well, from $110,600 to $251,433 (127.3 per cent), but given so few sales for the period in 2009, the association urges caution in how the numbers are interpreted.

A general trend that emerges from the stats is that sales prices are up in all five municipal jurisdictions.

While some people may have expected greater price growth in the more oil-dependent municipalities rather than in St. Paul, that hasn't been the case so far for 2010.

“St. Paul is just booming. They've got so much new commercial going in, and I think that's making a difference,” said Colleen McEntee, executive officer for the realtors association.

As for the eastern end of the area, home prices will depend on the oilpatch and the military, the two most significant area employment sectors.

“As long as oil keeps doing what oil's doing, and the military keeps doing what military's doing, then Cold Lake's going to keep doing what it's doing,” McEntee said.

Average selling prices are now the highest they been in all five municipalities for the first five months of the year for the 2006 to 2010 period other than in the MD of Bonnyville, though McEntee cautioned that the $350,500 average price in the MD for the first five months of 2008 reflected a number of extremely high estates sales in the Moose Lake area. Those sales skewed up the MD average in 2008, she said, because the realtors association uses the mean average (the total value of all sales divided by the number of sales) rather than a median average (the sales price where half of sales fall above and half fall below).

It's also important to note the sales figures only cover those handled by an association realtor through the multiple listings service. They don't include sales outside the association's members.