Location variation

April housing sales tell different stories for districts 

While the sun might be shining in Calgary this spring, this city’s resale residential housing market was overshadowed by another month of declining sales and prices in April, according to CREB®.

However, despite inclement conditions, some areas of the city and segments of the market emerged as bright spots, with several posting double-digit sales increases, the board reported in its recent monthly housing summary.

Calgary’s West district recorded 128 detached sales in April, a nearly 31 per cent increase when compared to last year. It was followed by the North West, which posted a 20 per cent increase in detached sales with 187 units, the North at more than 11 per cent to 166 detached sales and City Centre at nearly four per cent to 111 detached units.

“Our market is incredibly diverse, and these numbers verify that. Different areas and price points have and will continue to react divergently to economic conditions,” said CREB® president Cliff Stevenson.

“Sellers who are properly educated on where their homes fall into the demand spectrum will have success in a market like this one.”

“In the West area, it appears there has been some sales growth in the higher end of the market – likely due to price discounts that are encouraging people to buy.”

Year-to-date statistics reveal a similar story, with the West and East posting nearly identical 11 per cent increase in detached sales to 332 and 110, respectively, during the first four months of 2016. They were followed by the North West, which record a nearly eight per cent increase in detached sales to 517 units, and City Centre posting a 5.4 per cent increase with 333 transactions.

Detached sales represent more than half of citywide sales activity, according to CREB®.

CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie credited the sales disparities between districts to market conditions that have benefited buyers.

“In the West area, it appears there has been some sales growth in the higher end of the market – likely due to price discounts that are encouraging people to buy,” she said. “Detached peak to current monthly price went from $723,000 to $694,200, a 3.98 per cent drop, on aggregate.

“The same thing took place in the North West district, where sales activity increased in the $400,000-$499,999 range while declining in the $500,000-$699,999 range. This once again indicates that buyers are taking advantage of some of the price reductions occurring in the market. Some of those homes that were once selling or listed in the $500,000 range sold for less, pushing the sale into the $400,000 range.”

Detached benchmark prices fell in seven of Calgary’s eight districts last month. The East posted the most dramatic decline with a 1.6 per cent decrease compared to March, and nearly five per cent from last year, to $348,300.
North West detached benchmark prices, meanwhile, fell by 0.9 per cent in April from the previous month, and 3.4 per cent compared to the same period last year, to $542,200, while the West recorded 0.6 and 2.3 per cent declines, respectively, to $694,200.

Overall, total sales across all housing segments in Calgary last month declined by more than 10 per cent over the previous April to 1,764 transactions. And much like the previous month, new listings increased – this time by nearly five per cent to 3,216 units – resulting in inventory gains across all sectors of the market, reported CREB®.

April’s benchmark price of $441,000 represented a 0.4 per cent decline from last month and 3.4 per cent from the same time last year.

Even with price declines now persisting for seven consecutive months, some prospective buyers would be well served with an adjustment in expectations, said Stevenson.

“From re-considering the listing of their home to lowering expectations on price, sellers are beginning to adjust to the current market reality,” he said. “However, some buyers in the market are still not willing to pull the trigger because they expect even bigger discounts. And so that gap between buyers’ and sellers’ expectations still persists across many product types and locations.”

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