An Edmonton realtor expects the Fort Saskatchewan housing market to thrive at record levels in spring.
 
Josh Blais, founder of Revere Real Estate, expects a lot more first-time home buyers to move into the city and that housing prices will likely increase. For the beginning of January alone, sales are up by 21 per cent compared to the same time last year. 
 
He outlined three major factors that may have impacted these trends.
 
1. Suppression of demand
 
During the initial COVID-19 lockdown, from March to May, there was not a lot of activity in the real estate market. Blais pointed towards anxieties people may have had around in-person showings and not wanting to put themselves at risk.
 
However, when restrictions eased throughout spring and summer, there was a massive influx of demand. With tougher restrictions once again being implemented in December, he expects a similar surge for the spring of 2021. 
 
"Fort Saskatchewan is probably a community that people are going to be looking to, to purchase a single-family home," Blais added. "A lot less condos in Fort Saskatchewan, a lot more single-family detached homes."
 
2. The "work-from-home revolution"
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has also shifted the way buyers view their set-up, with most people working from home unless an employer requires physical presence for operational effectiveness.
 
"They're wanting more space because maybe they want a home office, maybe they're looking at two home offices even – if both partners are working from home," explained Blais. 
 
He added this shift to working from home also pushes buyers away from condos and towards single-family houses, as they are less interested in living on top of one another. 
 
3. Interest rates   
 
Lastly, Blais noted interest rates are historically low right now.  
  
"You have some banks that are offering 10-year fixed mortgage rates for 1.99 per cent. It's basically free money," he explained. "Now just seems like a really good time to get into a place because those interest rates are low and people are taking advantage of it." 
 
Blais described real estate as a "cyclical market;" people generally move in spring, summer and early parts of fall, with the colder months being slower. 
 
"When you add that factor into the three that I've mentioned, it's going to be a pretty crazy spring when it comes to single-family home sales."