Brokers exiting market?

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As house prices and sales plummet in Fort McMurray, real estate agents are leaving for greener pastures – but are brokers following them?

“Brokers aren’t really leaving because they can work entirely (across province); I know an Alberta-based broker who winters in Mexico and still does mortgage business in Calgary,” Alberta-based broker Ken Priest told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “Any broker who has been around for a while works all of Alberta.”

As the cliché goes, real estate is local, but brokers in struggling Fort Mac seem to have an advantage because they have the ability to base themselves outside the markets in which they operate.

Phil Soper, chief executive officer of Royal LePage Real Estate Services, told the National Post that Fort-McMurray based agents are leaving the area in hopes of taking advantage of markets that haven’t been hit as hard as the capital of oil country.

“Our offices in Edmonton are experiencing a transfer of agents from Fort McMurray and you’d expect that, because the region is experiencing the most severe change in economic fortune in Canada in years,” Soper told the Post.

Those defections may not be a surprise.

According to CREA’s most recent stats, dollar volume for home sales is down 47.8% year-to-date in Fort McMurray. On a year-over-year basis, dollar volume fell 52.8% in October.

Sales have also taken a major hit, showing a 44.8% year-to-date decrease. Year-over-year sales dropped 41% last month.

The average price, meanwhile, has fallen 5.5% year-to-date. On a year-over-year basis, prices fell 20% in October.

These numbers contrast greatly with what is occurring across the country.

Dollar volume is up 13.3% year-to-date; sales are up 4.8 year-to-date; and the average prices has risen 8.1% year-to-date.

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