Looking to the Future

With some national media forecasting doom and gloom for much of Canada’s real estate market, CREB®’s 2013 Tradeshow and Forecast provided further proof of Calgary’s exceptional status.

In a Maclean’s article entitled Crash and Burn, substantial downturns in several major real estate markets across the country were shown as evidence that debt-heavy Canadians had “spooked” themselves into a housing crash.

Over the last year, sales in Vancouver and Toronto dropped by 14.4 and 16 per cent, respectively.

But in Calgary – the lone market in the country where single-family housing sales improved – sales of single- family homes have risen by eight per cent over the same span.

“We have a nice, balanced market, and it’s expected to see some growth this year,” said newly named CREB® present Becky Walters at the forecast. “Although some big markets in Canada are stumbling, Calgary is hot on the heels of a year of recovery, with the forecast saying the market is going to stay in positive territory.”

Calling for moderate sales and house price growth, CREB® officially issued their 2013 forecast at an event that saw much of Calgary’s real estate community gathered under one roof.

Following a year that saw MLS® sales in the city rise by 15 per cent and a new record set for average sale price, CREB® is predicting sales to increase by 2.2 per cent in 2013 and average sale prices to increase by 2.9 per cent.

Single-family listings are expected to ease to 1.8 per cent this year, with prices in the category estimated to increase by three per cent. In the condominium market, sales are expected to increase by three per cent, with a moderate price appreciation of 2.4 per cent for condo apartments and 2.8 per cent for condo townhouses.

While conceding the rest of the country is “likely” to see some contraction in the construction industry as a result of reduced sales, ATB Financial economist Will van’t Veld reinforced the bullish outlook for Alberta’s real estate market.

“Housing investment in Alberta is likely an exception, where a strong economy and resulting in-migration will likely necessitate a continued expansion in the housing stock to avoid housing shortages,” he said in a release.

While many markets have seen a serious decline in affordability in recent years, Calgary has remained relatively reasonable when compared to other cities. Seen as a key statistic in the viability of a given market, Calgary’s affordability was at a multi-year best according to the Royal Bank’s affordability index. Even with prices falling in markets like Toronto and Vancouver, both markets were still firmly in “unaffordable” territory, while in Calgary, buying a two-storey home was more affordable than it had been since early 2009.

In addition to providing buyers, sellers and REALTORS® with an educated outlook of what the coming year may bring, CREB® honoured one of their own at the show, awarding REALTOR® Nick Profeta with the T.W.H. (Bill) Saunders Memorial Award as REALTOR® of the Year.

The award is presented annually to those who exemplify high standards of professionalism, show remarkable leadership and dedication and recognizes outstanding contributions to the real estate industry and the community.

Profeta, who has been involved with the Feed The Hungry program for 13 years, as well as fundraising for the Children’s Hospital, thanked his friends, family and colleagues.

“A big thank you especially to all the REALTORS®, committee members and volunteers; you’re a pleasure to work with,” he said.

CREB® chief economist Ann- Marie Lurie did provide a word of caution at the forecast, commenting on the possible impact of a drop in the city’s job picture.

“Slower growth trends in employment combined with lower migration estimates will impact sales growth across all resale sectors, and, as listings continue to decline, this will further dampen sales growth, particularly in the single-family market,” she said. “However, as the overall market remains well supplied, prices will continue to grow but not at the levels seen in 2012.”

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