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Buyer’s market for industrial property

'It's a buyer's market right now.'
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‘Sold’ signs are rare in Elk Point’s industrial park these days, but this property is one of two that found new owners in recent weeks. Vicki Brooker photo.

ELK POINT - Having recently found purchasers for two properties in Elk Point’s industrial park, Shirley Harms of Lakeland Realty feels that “It’s a buyer’s market right now,” with a wide range of properties to choose from for those planning to start a new business or to expand their operation to Elk Point, along with ample residential property available to house incoming business owners and workers. 

The downturn in the oil industry has caused numerous businesses to go under, with ‘For Sale’ and ‘For Lease’ signs popping up throughout the area east of Hwy. 41, and Harms says, “There aren’t too many that aren’t for sale, even if there are no signs on some of them.” 

That could add up to “a good 80 per cent” of the industrial park, with current listings including six properties and four or more industrial lots, with another property for lease. There have been “quite a few foreclosures and two the Town of Elk Point took ownership of for tax recovery.”  

It’s a big change from better times, she says.  

“Prior to the oil industry collapse, there was not an industrial property to be found.   We have sold two industrial properties within the last month, which sold below assessed value.  It is a great time for buyers to buy.  We have not seen prices like this in the past.” Real estate prices have been on a downward trend for some time, “and they haven’t stabilized yet.” 

Nine other business properties, mostly buildings and land, are also for sale and one available for lease, in the community, along with 61 residential properties, Harms says. 

Asked if the many listings are a result of the oil market, the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy or a mixture of the three, Harms says, “We're not concerned about COVID as much as we are the economic climate. COVID has not deterred buyers and has actually created more opportunities. It is a great time to buy, interest rates are low and there is a First-time Home Buyer Incentive for down payments with the Government of Canada.   

“What COVID has done is affected businesses and jobs with the forced shutdowns. We are concerned about our oil industry. That is affecting jobs and communities, large and small, all over the province.  It's the backbone of Alberta and for the most part, Canada.  We have hopes that this industry will stabilize soon, as we're all connected.” 

Two other Elk Point real estate firms have had recent sales as well. Desiree Maas of Property Plus told Chamber of Commerce members at the November meeting that she “sold two houses last week,” and noted that Ron Smith of Elk Point Realty had recently been successful in selling the long-vacant hotel.