Cochrane house sales eased for the sixth consecutive month in September, and inventories are shifting toward more balanced conditions.

According to the Calgary Real Estate Board's (CREB) September report, 71 homes were sold in Cochrane, bringing the total units sold this year to 970, a three per cent decline from last year at this time.

The inventory of homes has also climbed to almost three months, a major shift from the anomaly of a strong seller's market experienced in the spring, says local realtor Kendra Watt, of CIR Realty.

In the first two quarters of the year, she says the average selling price was about $550,000 and the sale price was typically 100 per cent of list.

"In the spring, our saturation rate was less than two weeks, and right now it's almost three months. Three to four months is considered a balanced market," she says.

"This shift started at the end of May and has continued as inventory levels increase and sales decline affecting both price and time on the market. It's still a good market overall, but now we're seeing buyers take their time in making decisions, no longer foregoing inspections and financing conditions, and significantly fewer multiple offer situations."

She says the increased lending rates had a huge impact and definitely helped to balance the local market. 

If we had an inventory of over four to five months, it's considered a buyers market, she explains, but Cochrane hasn't experienced that in several years.

"I don't know that we'll get there just because our inventory levels aren't going to climb. It's hard to say what will happen in the spring, but definitely, in the next four to five months if anything we'll stay as a stabilized market."

CREB says Calgary buyers are looking for more affordable options of condominium apartments and row properties, but that's not necessarily the case in Cochrane.

Watt says because our prices are typically less than in Calgary, buyers have more options. If you are preapproved for a $500,000 mortgage some of the detached homes are available on the market.

"A lot of times in Calgary you will end up in a semi-detached home, also known as a half-duplex, whereas in Cochrane, you can still get in a detached home. Now it's not going to be the biggest home with the best view, but it still is an option for you. So, your lifestyle choices can be stretched a little further here in Cochrane."

She says apartment-style condos are always the most affordable in the market. They are ideal for people who don't necessarily have a big mortgage budget.

"That's really the only option for them, so we are seeing that condos are selling well."

She says In the past 30 days, the average sale price of all listings was $493,000, they were on the market for 37 days, and the sale price was 98 per cent of list. The average price for a detached home was $613,000.

Watt is also licensed with the Edmonton Real Estate Board and follows that market closely to track the overall trends.

"It's doing the same thing as the Cochrane and Calgary market, back to being more balanced and no longer relying heavily on the Ontario buyers that flooded our market in the spring."