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House sales consistent with last year

Posted on December 17, 2014 by Maple Creek

House sales have remained steady in the last year, but the average sale price has dropped.

While about the same number of houses have sold so far this year as in 2013, there were more lower-priced sales in 2014.

There have been 45 home sales and three conditional sales as of this week. This included one trailer, one cottage, three acreages and three vacant lots or houses that will need to be torn down. There were 47 home sales in 2013.

The average sale price for 2014 is $114,000 – down from $143,400 last year. Betty Abbott, broker and owner of Abbott Realty, said this was due to fewer sales of higher-priced homes.

Houses have been selling 14 per cent below listed price this year compared to 12.5 per cent in 2013.

However, a new record high sale price was set this year, with one home selling for $335,000. Abbott noted there were also more cottage sales at Cypress Park than in the last two years.

As usual, more homes sold in the spring and summer than any other time of year, but sales have been made year-round.

“Overall, the market is stable, with buyers preferring move-in ready homes,” Abbott said.

Sales remained unchanged when it came to commercial property listings this year. Three properties have sold so far – one building and two lots – which was the same amount that sold last year.

The biggest deterrent in sales for both commercial and residential real estate is high taxes, Abbott said.

“I often hear negative comments from potential buyers,” she stated. “Recently I was told by someone looking to buy a commercial building as well as residential home, ‘Well, forget about moving to Maple Creek, I can’t afford the taxes.'”

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Maple Creek had the highest commercial municipal property tax in the Southwest in 2013 of $6,550 per $200,000 of assessed value.

There were a few homes purchased for revenue purposes, with all made by current residents of the town.

Don Lewis, a broker with Blythman Agencies Ltd., noted the majority of purchases this year were family homes, but a number of people have bought homes to fix up and sell or rent out.

A few homes have been purchased by people moving to town.

For those looking at selling their home in the future, Abbott said they should consider having a home inspection done for their own information. Fixing little issues can make a big difference, as well as painting using neutral colours and ensuring the home is clean. If the house is empty, consider minimal staging as a completely empty house shows every flaw, she added.

“Trim up your yard and spruce up the outside – it helps get them in the door,” Abbott said. “Some small investments can reward you in the end with higher sale prices.”

It’s also important to avoid overpricing.

“We saw some large differences between list and sale as a result of the homes being overpriced when they first went on the market and then took over a year to sell,” Abbott pointed out.

Lewis said home sales are much better now compared to three or four years ago.

“They’re probably at a leveled-off period right now,” he explained. “We’re much higher than we ever have been in years, except for when the boom was. But the amount of money that we’re getting for houses is significantly more than we ever did before the boom hit.”

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