The outlook for 2017 according to the Calgary Real Estate Board, which also oversees and tracks activity in Okotoks, is for more sales and more stable inventory. In CREB’s annual market outlook for the Okotoks and Foothills Region, the uptick in residential sales will occur over time as the economic recovery in Alberta and employment statistics start a gradual ascent.
CREB statistics for Okotoks show that the real estate market in 2016 fell by 5% over 2015 and the number of new residential listings hitting the marketplace also fell. From that account the market was able to stay somewhat stable over all, keeping home prices on the level throughout 2016. In fact, the monthly variance between the median asking price and median selling price last year hovered between 2% and 5% with the exception of December 2016 when sellers were more eager to sell and more flexible, with an adjustment of 11%.
Having said that, prices in 2016 were still lower than prices recorded in 2013 which was the last really good year before falling oil prices had such remarkable impact.
The most robust activity in 2016 was in detached homes under $500,000 with higher-priced homes in the Town of Okotoks and acreages in the Foothills region taking longer to sell and fetching lower prices.
Sales of apartment condominiums and multi-family units suffered in Okotoks, just as they did in the City of Calgary in 2016 and even with lower prices which may have been attractive to first home buyers, the market was so flooded with listings that prices just couldn’t be sustained. In 2017, fewer listings in the multi-family and attached home sector could mean prices will bottom out but an increase is not predicted for this year.
The average number of days on the market for 2016 in Okotoks was 59. This figure is likely skewed higher due to the number of higher-priced acreage which surround the town in the MD of Foothills. The median sales prices for all residential properties last year was $425,000.
In all, 531 properties were sold in Okotoks in 2016.
This time of year, Okotoks residents will be receiving their property tax assessments from the town and may be surprised to see their home over-valued according to assessors.
Homeowners thinking of selling should contact a real estate professional to have a market assessment done to determine the true value of their residential property. If a property owner wants to challenge their 2017 tax assessment and believes their taxes are too high, arming themselves with an up-to-the-minute evaluation may be the extra ammunition they require.
Tax assessments were sent out January 16, 2017 and property owners have 60 days in which to ask for a review.
Even if you don’t take issue with your 2017 assessment, it’s a good idea to have an expert market evaluation carried out so you can keep track of the value of all of your investments.
Prices and sales activity in Okotoks started to pick up in the final months of 2016. After the usual Christmas lull, real estate agents in the area say that January has been even busier than last fall. This increased activity is attributed to the inklings of change in the economy and the slow crawl to plus-$50 a barrel oil prices. That plus the continuing accessible interest rates and great prices in Okotoks.
From an Okotoks home seller point of view, creating and maintaining a desirable property is still the stand-out difference between a good offer and a great offer – or any offer at all, for that matter. Keeping the home in good shape and repair and pricing the home accordingly can make the difference in a market where buyers have their pick of the crop.