Total residential sales for the month of February 2013 totaled 1,711 units, a one per cent decline over the previous year. Accounting for the leap year in 2012, activity in the single family market resembles last year’s activity. However, even with one less day in the February 2013 figures, condominium sales have made significant gains increasing by 13 per cent relative to February 2012.
Year-over-year single family sales growth totaled 1,209 units in the month of February, as supply levels continued to decline, limiting choice for those in the market.
“When new product comes onto the market, buyers are not delaying their purchasing decisions as the majority of homes are selling in less time at prices closer to their list price,” said CREB® President Becky Walters. “The tighter market conditions have supported price growth, however despite the current gains, single family home prices remain below the unadjusted benchmark high of $451,000.”
The unadjusted single family benchmark price for February 2013 was $442,500, a 1.3 per cent increase over the previous month and nine per cent higher than levels recorded in February 2012. “With less selection in the single family market, particularly at the lower price ranges, more consumers are turning to the condominium market,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® Chief Economist.
“Throughout the downturn there were more single family homes priced under $400,000. However, over the past few years the number of new single family listings in this range represents a declining share of the market, leaving consumers looking for more affordable products.”
Improved sales activity combined with reductions in total inventory levels have provided room for growth in condominium prices. The condominium apartment benchmark price totaled $252,900 in February 2013, a six per cent increase over the previous year. Meanwhile, townhouse condominium prices recorded a year-over-year increase of 4.7 per cent for a total of $283,200 in February.
“During the boom years, Calgary experienced significant growth in the employment sector and shortages in housing supply, ultimately creating frenzy amongst consumers driving up prices at unsustainable rates,” said Lurie. “Condominium prices have since corrected, and while the current price gains are a sign of recovery, the unadjusted condominium apartment and townhome benchmark prices still remain 14 per cent below the peak levels.”
While the average price reflects record levels in Calgary, those numbers can be misleading,” said Walters. “Last year there were more home sales in the higher-end segment of the Calgary market compared to 2007, and this trend has continued into 2013, causing the average price to rise above peak levels.”
CREB® focuses on the benchmark price which is based on the attributes of the home including repeat sales. This pricing methodology provides a better indication of how prices for similar properties have trended over time.
“While our economy does not reflect growth recorded pre-recession and continues to be plagued by short term risk, consumers are feeling confident about the long term prospects of this city and continue to support growth in our housing sector.” Said Lurie.