Market on the mend

The arrow is pointing upwards for Calgary housing market as recovery continues

It’s been a tough couple of years for Calgary’s housing market, as it slowly recovers from the collapse of oil prices that started in 2014.

That pain created some deep wounds for the city’s economy, which shed thousands of jobs and plunged into a recession for both 2015 and 2016. The light at the end of the tunnel began to materialize this year, and the recovery is expected to fully take hold in 2018.

That’s good news for the real estate market, as job growth will fuel demand going forward.

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To buy, or not to buy?

That is the question, but there is no easy answer that’s right for everyone

It’s an age-old question that still gets hotly debated, particularly by young adults who are determining where they are going to live: should I rent or should I buy?

It’s not an easy question to answer, and there are no clear right or wrong answers.

“One of the big things to contemplate is your time focus, because when you do buy a home, it is a long-term commitment. It does involve a five-year mortgage that’s amortized over 25 years,” said Tim Gensey, a market analyst with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) in Calgary. “On the other hand, renting allows you to be a lot more flexible. You have to really consider where you are in your life and what your needs are.

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Targeting tenants

Challenges continue for Calgary’s rental market

“Very cautious optimism” is how Gerry Baxter, executive director of the Calgary Residential Rental Association, describes the industry’s view of Calgary’s current rental landscape.

While Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) pegged Calgary’s rental vacancy rate at seven per cent last fall – the highest it’s been in more than 25 years – Baxter says he thinks residential vacancies in the city are actually closer to the eight-to-10-per-cent range.

“There’s been some slight improvement in the rental market over the last few weeks, but it’s still a challenge to rent,” said Baxter, attributing the slack rental market to the economic downturn that started in late 2014 and early 2015.

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Trickle-down effect

How economic indicators actually drive the housing market

What do unemployment, migration and oil prices have in common? Apart from being touchy subjects at a party, they all influence the Calgary housing market to some extent. Understanding how and why that happens could provide an advantage when planning a home sale or purchase.

“In many cases the impact is indirect,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist for CREB®.

One part of that impact relates to demand.

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