The pandemic has ushered in many surprise turns, but real estate in the Rat Creek Press neighbourhoods has held steady.

“We did change the way we did things, but we kept working as we’re essential workers,” says Roxanne Litwyn, a real estate agent with Stirling Real Estate. Litwyn also lives in the Alberta Avenue neighbourhood. “It didn’t affect the prices. Lots of questionnaires, pre-qualifying before [people] even stepped into the house.” 

Because most health restrictions have been lifted, real estate agents can now hold open houses again. 

Litwyn adds, “I didn’t find last year slowed down at all.”

Michelle Patterson Nipp, a real estate agent for MaxWell Challenge Realty, also lives in Alberta Avenue. She agrees with Litwyn. “I think, generally speaking, [real estate has] been pretty steady. Year to year it has increased, but month to month has a slight decrease.” She adds that not all of the fluctuation is due to the pandemic; some of it is seasonal. “People are looking in the spring. The Edmonton market is completely different than anywhere else in the province.” 

Patterson Nipp says that at the beginning of the pandemic, sales decreased “because people weren’t sure if sales would go through. Now, it’s busy.” 

What the pandemic did change is how people view their homes. Patterson Nipp says that people are making big changes. “Before the pandemic, people hadn’t spent as much time at home. It changed from people spending most of their time away from home to spending most of their time at home.” Because so many people ended up working remotely, what they needed for space and functionality in a home changed. Specifically, many buyers now want a home that has space for a home office. If they have children, they may want space for online schooling. “These changes have added to the influx of people looking for homes. People moving from a two bedroom condo may want a four bedroom home.”

Properties in our neighbourhoods are still affordable compared to the rest of Edmonton. Because housing in these areas is so diverse, there’s no average price. Housing prices can range from $133,000 to $417,000. Litwyn says that in the last 30 days, the average length of time housing in the area was for sale was 36 days.

“That’s why people love this area—it’s so diverse. We don’t have standard housing here.” The buyers are as diverse as the properties. “Buyers are all over the place,” says Litwyn. 

Alberta Ave and Parkdale are popular neighbourhoods buyers want to live in. Litwyn adds, “I would say the entire area is becoming popular.” The fact that there’s plenty of community activities and arts is drawing more people to the area. Plus, “we know everybody,” she says.

Patterson Nipp points out an up and coming area is the Blatchford development, which was the former municipal airport. “It’s appealing for families who want to live centrally and in a newer home.” She says homes in central Edmonton tend to be older and come with work to update them, but the Blatchford development has new homes and the appeal of living centrally and with nearby amenities. The homes are attached in a townhome style, but there’s still plenty of space. 

But overall, it depends on what the buyer wants. 

Patterson Nipp adds, “It’s not the people [that have changed], it’s the lifestyle. It’s the basic needs in life.”