Realtors say it's a banner year for those buying and selling million-dollar homes in Edmonton, with the city just two sales away from setting an all-time record.


"As long as those multimillion dollar sales continue to happen, it's going to help boost the average price up slightly," said Greg Steele, president of the Realtors Association of Edmonton. "We don't see that stopping any time soon."


Last year saw a record of 118 multimillion dollar residential sales in the city, up from just 89 in 2012. As of the end of this September, there had already been 116 multimillion dollar homes sold.


Not only are there more multimillion dollar deals happening than ever before, the sale prices themselves are ballooning. The highest priced home sold in 2012 went for just over $3.4 million dollars, down from $5.7 million the year before. This year, one listing has already sold for just under $6 million dollars.


Despite recent predictions threatening to burst Canada's housing bubble, the Realtors Association of Edmonton says the city's real estate market remains steady and strong, and they have the statistics to prove it.


"While bigger markets like Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary have seen great movement, Edmonton has been incredibly stable for the last five years in a row," said Steele.


While residential sales of all property types is up 12 per cent over last year -- with residential properties selling an average five days faster than in 2013 -- inventory of residential properties is down 6 per cent.


"This is a very clear reflection of a healthy, stable and steady market," said Steele.


While Steele said this market climate is fairly balanced between buyers and sellers, competition is thick among those buying properties between $250,000 and $400,000. The average price of a single family home is over $435,000.


"As long as we have great employment, great incomes and a great real estate market, people will buy and sell, and we don't see that slowing down any time soon," Steele said.


But not everyone shares Steele's enthusiasm for the future of Edmonton's real estate market, with Hilliard MacBeth -- a local investment portfolio manager and author -- predicting as much as a 50 per cent correction in the national housing market.


"If everything keeps going, if the price of oil stays above $100 a barrel and the incomes stay high and there is never another recession, and if the builders don't build too many houses, maybe it can keep going forever," said MacBeth sarcastically. "But, in my mind, that's too many ifs."


MacBeth said his concerns arise in part from rising debt loads among younger generations who, should interest rates increase or another recession hit, would be unable to pay them back.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper publicly dismissed claims that Canada is on the verge of a housing crisis last week, but Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz has said he sees high home prices as a risk, but expects a soft correction.


Courtesy of The Edmonton Sun

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EDMONTON - Imagine the Edmonton Unconventional Centre — klieg lights and neon and a sexy storefront on Jasper Ave., a riverside bistro, four-seasons patio and skating rink by the North Saskatchewan; entrepreneurs hunkered down in comfortable, connected space; ambassadors helping tourists find their way from the electric vehicle charging station to the gym; with solar panels and run-of-river hydro turbines turning on the lights.


Those are just a few of the ways in which 150 thought-leaders re-imagined the Shaw Conference Centre on Monday in Hall D (the one with the great view). They came together for about 1,000 person-hours of constructive conversation, and Shaw VP Cliff Higuchi can’t wait to see the results.


“What we do with it is something I don’t really know yet. We’ll have to look at the ideas that come out, we’ll have to look at cost factors involved, we’ll have to look at our business model to see if those things align with our business model, with the way we get funded, with the way the building infrastructure is currently built.


“The heavy lifting is really the stuff that comes next.”


Shaw executives reached out through Incite, a local marketing company, to engage the public and envision the 31-year-old, city-owned facility as a more integrated, connected, relevant, functional, reflective and interesting place. Because it’s not just that oddly shaped building on the riverbank where you had grad dinner or saw Trooper for the fifth time.


“The Shaw Conference Centre is beyond just a building and bricks and mortar,” said Higuchi. “The Shaw Conference Centre is really an idea. It’s about transformations. It’s about being a portal to your city and your community. And as a portal, the building needs to help express the brand of the place it exists in. So what is authentic Edmonton? How do we connect people to that?”


Good questions, and there were plenty more put before working groups. How do we partner with Northlands? Bring more beauty into the space? Create concierge service? Re-integrate private enterprise? Make the conference centre world-class in technology?


At the end of the day, each participant was given 10 sticky dots to assign to the idea or ideas he or she found most worthy of development.


“You could blow them all on one,” said Margo Long, director of strategic services for Incite.


Ron Barauskas runs Fulcrum Advisory Services, a human resources consulting firm, and he thinks the conference centre should enter the entrepreneurial space, quite literally.


“Use this as a convenient place for entrepreneurs to meet, exchange ideas, cultivate their organizations, or help other organizations grow. The thought was (to have) something facilitated, reasonable meeting space, even for occupancy sake, not just a place to exchange business cards.”


It should be a place that’s easier to navigate, according to Stephen Richards, director, commercial group, for ATB Financial.


“I would like the building itself to be more user-friendly. Not high-tech, but to have somebody to help people, assist people, direct people, like an ambassador.”


He also thought a name-change incorporating Edmonton might be in order, to help establish an identity.

“Just to promote Edmonton. People don’t seem to know what the Shaw Conference Centre is.”


Courtesy of The Edmonton Journal

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Categories:   Edmonton | Real Estate

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