EDMONTON -- Last year saw home sales in Edmonton rise from 2019, but according to the Realtors Association of Edmonton, that trend is not expected to continue through 2021. 

During a video news conference, incoming 2021 Realtors Association of Edmonton Chair Tom Shearer told CTV News Edmonton he's surprised by the overall data for last year.

"I think all of us in the business were worried about people's ability to move in April and May, and we didn't think the market was going to come back like it did," said Shearer. "The end of the year, the strong finish that we had and the momentum that we have right now was very surprising."

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According to the Realtors Association of Edmonton, residential sales rose by 2.94 per cent last year from 2019, while the overall year-to-date sales volume was up 4.47 per cent.

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Duplex unit sales rose by 16.95 per cent, condo sales fell by 7.5 per cent and single family home sales were up by 4.82 per cent.

Meanwhile, amid COVID-19, 2020 saw Edmonton's active end-of-year inventory drop by 17.27 per cent compared to 2019.

"What we saw is sellers probably feel less safe with putting their homes on the market than prospective shoppers," said Shearer. "The inventory and the prospective sellers just felt, 'You know, I don't feel comfortable putting my home on the market in these conditions,' and I think that really held a lot of people back from the market."

Despite the momentum moving into the new year, the Realtors Association of Edmonton is forecasting moderate decreases in both prices and listings for the residential market for 2021.

"Our typical real estate market sees activity start to increase in March and then peak in May and June and then it slowly falls off towards the end of the year," said Shearer. "Really I expect the market to start really kicking into high gear when people are feeling much more safe to be out and shopping. So for that I think it's anyone's guess when that really starts to happen."

The Realtors Association predicts the average price of a single family home in Edmonton this year will drop to $426,000. That's down 0.8 per cent from last year's average sale price of $429,433.

"Unit sales were up in 2020, but we expect them to drop as much 4.7 per cent," said Shearer.

According to Shearer, the Realtors Association expects Edmonton's condo market's struggles to continue in 2021 with a sales decrease of up to 4.7 per cent and an average price decrease of 1.2 per cent to $220,000.

Shearer said he and his colleagues expect Edmonton to see a sales decrease of 2.4 per cent for duplex and row house units in 2021, adding that average sales prices are forecasted to drop by 0.8 per cent to $330,000.

"Given the current situation with COVID-19 global pandemic and a year like no other, putting together a forecast for 2021 has been very challenging," said Shearer. "For this reason we are presenting a conservative forecast for the coming year, bearing in mind some possible areas for optimism."