EDMONTON - Edmonton housing prices continued to climb steadily during 2012, with the average of all homes at $333,140 in December — a jump of 5.4 per cent over the same period last year, the Realtors Association reported Thursday.

Single family homes did even better, ending the year with an average selling price of $391,427, up 6.8 per cent over last year. However, condominium prices were down slightly, by less than one per cent for 2012, with the average selling price $225,143.

“We are in a good place and see very stable growth ahead,” said Doug Singleton, the association’s outgoing president who has handed over duties to Darrell Cook for 2013.

After a sharp spike in prices in 2007 was followed by a steep decline, Singleton said the market has mostly recovered from those gyrations.

“We are back to the prices of 2006 before that spike, with some areas above the 2007 level.”

The association will be releasing its 2013 forecast next week.

“The final numbers are not in yet, but the market has been stable for the past few years and we can expect more of that in 2013,” said Cook.

Alberta realtors are seeing increasing numbers of buyers from other provinces.

“It is said while it might take six months to find a job in Eastern Canada, it takes six hours here. There is a lot of opportunities,” said Cook.

That said, the market for first-time buyers in the Edmonton area is expected to be strong.

“It will continue to be a strong market for anything under $500,000,” said Singleton.

During 2012, 85 properties sold for more than $1 million.

Singleton said while many people will stroll through the historic areas close to the core — neighbourhoods like Glenora — and think this is where they would like to live, but the reality is that they will choose the less expensive suburbs.

Still, the downtown core is still growing “by leaps and bounds, with new condos replacing parking lots.”

And while the national media seems to be obsessed with falling sales and prices in Toronto and Vancouver, Singleton said other markets across Canada are doing fine.

“In those cities they are going through a price correction. To go and buy something in downtown Toronto (today) is ridiculous.”

By Dave Cooper, Edmonton Journal

January 3, 2013

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/real-estate/Edmonton+housing+market+shows+strength+2013/7772178/story.html