Calgary has recorded some improvements in employment, but this has not been the case across the province. Edmonton and Grande Prairie both saw job growth slow in the second quarter, followed by a pullback in the third quarter. The Red Deer, Lethbridge-Medicine Hat and Camrose-Drumheller regions all recorded job losses throughout the first three quarters of 2019. By the end of the third quarter, unemployment rates had increased in all regions, except Calgary, Camrose and Wood Buffalo compared to the previous year.
These shifts in employment have contributed to different demand trends in the regional housing markets. Calgary and Edmonton have seen some shifts in supply compared to sales. This is helping to reduce some oversupply, but it has not been enough to prevent price declines. In areas such as Central Alberta, Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie, sales activity eased at a faster pace than supply adjustments, which has weighed on pricing in some of those regions. Recent struggles in Medicine Hat have caused supply gains, but prices have held steady for now. Lethbridge is one of the few regions where the economy is influenced more by the agricultural sector, and despite some challenges, their housing market has been relatively stable, with modest price growth over the past five years.