By Marcia Love
Home sales are remaining on par with last year, but the average sale price has increased.
The same number of homes have sold in Maple Creek so far this year as this time last year. As of the end of November, 41 homes have been sold in town.
The average sale price was $159,762 — an increase of almost $40,000 from 2014.
“We’ve sold more higher-end houses, so the average price is up,” explained Betty Abbott, broker and owner of Abbott Realty.
There are still a couple sales which may be finalized before the end of the year, she said.
“It’s still busy for the end of November and first part of December,” Abbott said, noting it is usually quieter by now.
While houses were selling at an average of 14 per cent below listed price last year, they were selling at almost 12 per cent below listed price this year. But without taking into account the higher and lower end of these figures, Abbott said it is actually closer to seven per cent below listed price.
A new record high residential home sale was made this year, with a house selling for $360,000.
A record high sale price was also reached at Cypress Hills Park this year, where a cottage sold for $470,000.
In the last few years, move-in ready homes have been the big seller, according to Abbott.
“We didn’t sell very many that needed work, because finding a contractor is hard and it costs money to do it,” she said. “They’ll pay more for something that’s move-in ready.”
Higher sales were noted in February and August this year.
Of the 41 sales this year, 12 homes were purchased by people relocating to Maple Creek. The rest were purchased by residents moving from renting to owning a home or upgrading to a bigger home, Abbott said.
“Quite a few were first-time buyers,” she said, adding there isn’t a lot available to rent in town. “We had some young people buying. It’s that confidence that they’d rather buy than rent.”
Several properties were sold and had the houses on the lots demolished. At least three homes have been demolished and had houses moved on or will soon have houses built.
There are currently 51 homes on the market.
One commercial sale
Commercial property sales were very slow this year. Only one sale was made.
Abbott said this is not unusual, as the last three years haven’t seen much activity on the commercial sales side. There were only three sales in 2013 and three last year. There have been a total of 14 commercial property sales since 2011.
But Abbott said there has been some interest in a few commercial properties in town — including inquiries on the former Shop Easy building.
There are currently nine commercial properties on the market.
Abbott said there haven’t been many people interested in commercial properties lately. She suspects some people may not see the great improvements and potential in the community as they don’t know what it looked like just a few years ago. While residents know there has been excellent progress made on businesses in the downtown through the Maple Creek Main Street Program, as well as several old houses torn down around town, visitors may not realize this progress.
Having two of the largest buildings in the downtown sitting vacant does not reflect well either.
But Abbott said tourists do stop in to her office to get listings.
While the former location of Cloud 9 Cyclery on the 100 block of Jasper Street was the only commercial property sold this year, there have been several businesses opening up shop in town. Cowtown Kids Toy & Candy, Broken Spoke Fine Art Gallery, Cypress Dollar Deals and Brashtones Design all opened their doors in 2015.