Calgary housing market prices hold, but sales fall

Residential home sales declined in February, but a decline in new listings helped keep prices steady this month.

Sales totaled 1,094 units in February, 18 per cent below last year’s activity. Easing sales occurred across all property types this month, which outpaced the sales growth that occurred in January. After the first two months of the year, sales activity remains well below longer-term averages.

“Housing market conditions are still adjusting to rising lending rates and changes in lending requirements. This process is expected to be bumpy, with demand adjustments leading the changes,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Housing market conditions are still adjusting to rising lending rates and changes in lending requirements. This process is expected to be bumpy, with demand adjustments leading the changes.” – Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® chief economist

“However, it is important to remember that it is early in the process and the impact on prices will ultimately be dependent on the supply response.”

A decline in new listings was not enough to prevent further gains in inventory levels, but it offset some of the impact of slower sales activity. In the detached sector, one of the largest declines in sales occurred in the $600,000 – $999,999 range, while this price range also recorded gains in new listings.

“This is a market where the fundamentals of a sound pricing strategy need to be understood by sellers. At the same time, savvy buyers typically have a clear understanding of how much of a mortgage they can get,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.

“With all the recent changes, potential purchasers should be obtaining pre-approvals so they understand exactly what they can afford prior to making an offer on a home. It also provides them flexibility in this market.”

Citywide benchmark prices totaled $434,300 in February, which is just above levels recorded last month, but comparable to levels recorded last year. While year-over-year price growth remained relatively stable in both the detached and attached markets, apartment prices remained three per cent below last year’s levels.

REGIONAL MARKET FACTS

Airdrie

  • Unlike activity within Calgary, sales activity in Airdrie continued to rise, pushing above longer-term averages. However, earlier gains in new listings have kept overall inventory levels elevated.
  • Overall months of supply remain slightly higher than last year’s levels, preventing any significant changes in prices. Detached prices have averaged $372,000 so far in 2018, 0.64 per cent below last year’s levels.

Cochrane

  • Easing sales combined with rising new listings caused a slight gain in inventory levels, keeping months of supply elevated compared to levels recorded last year. This prevented any substantial shifts in pricing.
  • After the first two months of the year, the detached price averaged $413,050, 1.97 per cent below levels recorded over the same period last year.

Okotoks

  • For the second month in a row, sales activity improved in Okotoks. However, previous gains in new listings prevented any significant changes to inventory levels. Improved sales have helped push down the months of supply, supporting some modest movements toward price recovery.
  • Detached benchmark home prices have averaged $430,700 so far this year, 0.61 per cent higher than last year, but over four per cent below pre-recession highs.