The worst is over

Economic growth forecasts paint cautiously optimistic picture for Calgary housing market

Calgary’s housing market lives and breathes based on the whims of the city’s overall economy.

While the city had an impressive gain of 6.9 per cent in economic growth in 2017 compared to 2016, according to the Conference Board of Canada, the economic engine will slow down this year and in 2019.

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The new reality

Calgary homebuilders adapt in the face of adversity

There’s no question that demand in the Calgary housing market eased following the collapse of oil prices in late 2014.

The impact of that global event sent shockwaves through the local economy, as thousands of people lost their jobs through two brutal years of recession in 2015 and 2016.

A slowing economy and job uncertainty always have an impact on the housing market, and the city saw a corresponding ease in home demand.

However, Calgary’s homebuilders have been resilient and creative.

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The many faces of prices

A guide to distinguishing average, median and benchmark prices

Sellers and potential buyers in today’s residential real estate market can be understandably excused if they are confused about what’s happening with housing prices.

After all, for both, price changes in the market are supremely important. Plus, CREB® gathers price information that, to the untrained eye, can tell different stories.

For example, in February, CREB® reported the benchmark price in the city for all MLS® properties that were sold was $445,000, or down 3.45 per cent from February 2015. However, the average MLS® sale price increased by 2.72 per cent to $472,529 while the median price was unchanged at $420,000.

From top to bottom, that’s a difference of close to $30,000.

“It’s looking at values based on criteria such as square footage, total bedrooms and bathrooms, location, property type.”

So what should one look at if they are either selling a home in this tough market or hoping to buy one?

A good start would be by looking at what each price category entails, said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. For example, the median price looks at every sale that has occurred in the market, ranking them from lowest to highest. The median price is the midpoint of all the sales.

Lurie said the average sale price is adding up the total dollar sum of the purchases divided by the number of total sales. (more…)

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