The big picture

Inventory increases and sales drop in September, but overall sales for the year remain higher than last year

Strong gains in the first half of 2017 have put Calgary year-to-date sales at seven per cent above last years’ levels and 11 per cent below long-term averages, but challenges remain with easing sales and rising new listings.

Inventories rose across all property types to 6,861 units, while both apartment- and attached-style properties saw the highest inventory on record for the month of September.

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Come on in

Open houses are still an important tool in the REALTOR®’s arsenal

Open houses remain a valid and valuable way to sell properties, even in this day and age of virtual reality.
While the technological tools available today to give maximum exposure to a listing have made it easier for potential homebuyers to window shop from anywhere, the physical presence of an open house still can’t be replaced.

CREB® president David P. Brown says opinions about open houses are often divided. Some REALTORS® love them, while others can’t stand them.

“But how we do it has changed a fair bit I believe,” said Brown. “Social media has got to be the biggest thing. Before, if we were going to have an open house we might hand deliver a few flyers or something around the neighbourhood – put up some signs and that was it.

“Now, we post it all over.”

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Future leaders

Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies is developing tomorrow’s real estate professionals

While interest accruing on a mortgage balance is rarely a welcome sight, the growing interest in the Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies at the University of Calgary is a different story.

Part of the Haskayne School of Business, the Westman Centre was founded in 2012 with $7.6 million in funding from the real estate industry, which included a $5 million endowment from Jay Westman. Its mission is to be a catalyst for the development of real estate professionals and a leading centre of excellence for real estate studies through its teaching, research and community engagement activities.

“Industry saw a need for a program where graduates would have a firm grasp of the real estate sector and the career opportunities it could offer,” said Jessica Abt, the centre’s director.

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June spells gradual recovery

Stable prices in detached sector signal balanced conditions despite increased inventory

The Calgary housing market saw a modest improvement in sales, along with an increase in new listings, in June.

However, demand gains have not kept pace with the amount of new listings coming onto the market. This caused inventory levels to increase to 6,659 units, which is 11 per cent higher than last year’s levels.

Despite the shift in inventory this month, second-quarter activity continues to demonstrate improved supply-demand balance and price stability. City-wide benchmark prices totaled $441,500 in June. This is a 0.5-per-cent increase over last month and nearly one per cent higher than last year.

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Improving economy boosts Calgary’s retail sector

Calgary’s retail market is expected to remain vibrant over the next 12 months due to an improving economy and rising consumer confidence.

A report by Colliers International in Calgary says the shopping centre vacancy rate in the city is expected to drop slightly from 3.21 per cent to three per cent while streetfront vacancy rates are expected to stabilize and hover around the current rate of 5.75 per cent.

“We are still the number one province on a per capita retail (spending) basis by a significant amount above the national average,” said Robert Walker, senior vice-president/partner with Colliers International in Calgary. “That still shows me that despite the vast number of layoffs downtown, the people who are employed are still spending money.

“Our average weekly income is still the highest in the country by a longshot. So they’re still spending money.”

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