Record-setting May

Residential sales for last month, highest ever recorded in Calgary

Calgary’s residential housing market continued its upward surge last month with a record-setting May that saw a 16 per cent increase in sales.

A combined 2,948 single- and multi-family homes switched hands last month, compared with 2,535 in May 2013. This year’s total represents the most sales in May in Calgary’s history.

“Strong sales activity is a reflection of improving fundamental conditions such as a growing population, favourable lending rates and rising wages,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Leading up to May, resale market sales were somewhat restricted by lack of choice. However, recent price gains have encouraged growth in new listings, helping meet some of the housing demand.”

The record-setting May comes on the heels of an upward trend in April housing starts. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) reported actual housing starts in Calgary hit 1,592 units in April, a 49 per cent increase compared to one year prior.

“The rise in multi-family starts was most pronounced, with apartment construction being the largest contributor to the gain,” said the CMHC Housing Now report. “To the end of April, housing starts for 2014 totaled 5,857 units, which represents a 64 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2013.”

CREB®’s new listings for May totaled 4,327, a 16.5 per cent increase over the same time last year as gains in new listings nearly matched sales growth. With inventory almost five per cent lower than levels recorded last year, this is the first instance in more than two years that year-over-year declines were not in double digits.

“Market conditions vary depending on the product type,” said CREB® president Bill Kirk. “Both condominium
apartment and townhouse-style products have recorded inventory growth relative to last year. This is good news for consumers looking for more choice in condominiums priced between $200,000 and $400,000.”

The city’s condo market remains hot as year-to-date condo sales increased 21 per cent compared to the first five months of 2013. A recent boost in new listings lifted inventory levels to 1,051 units, a 13.1 per cent increase compared to last year and representing 23.3 per cent of all citywide inventories.

“The single-family market varies depending on the price and location,” said Kirk. “While the majority of sales are occurring in the $300,000-to-$500,000 range, the number of new listings in this segment has lessened relative to last year, which indicates most new listing growth is occurring in the higher end of the market.”

Single-family sales and new listings for May totaled 7,662 and 11,093 units, respectively. The unadjusted single-family benchmark price in May was $504,300, a 10 per cent increase compared to last year.

Condo benchmark prices averaged $295,400 in May, a 10.7 per cent increase from $263,600 in 2013 townhouses had a benchmark average of $321,400 last month, a nine per cent increase from $292,100 in
May 2013.

“Persistently tight market conditions continue to support stronger than expected price gains,” said Lurie. “While supply levels are improving, demand remains strong preventing any significant run up in inventories. However, we may see more divergent behaviour in the single-family and condominium markets, impacting the relative price growth in each of these sectors.”

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