The benchmark price for a single- family home in Calgary has increased beyond peak numbers seen in 2007, reaching a new high of $452,900 in April.
Single-family sales in the city totalled 1,611 in April, nearly two per cent higher than April 2012 while yearto- date figures are similar to levels recorded in 2012. While sales growth in the first part of this year was stifled by a shortage of new listings and inventory, the year-over-year 6.2 per cent increase in new listings helped support sales growth in April.
“It’s really encouraging to see that the Calgary market remains strong,” said Becky Walters, CREB® president. “It’s reassuring to both buyers and sellers to see this area is outperforming many parts of the country.”
Calgary was recently dubbed an outperformer of Canadian real estate, joining Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton and Toronto in a TD report released in March. Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Ottawa were dubbed “par,” while Halifax and Saint John were the country’s “under-performers”.
Calgary’s strong single-family sales also affected sales of condos and homes in surrounding towns.
“Declining selection in the lower price range and market conditions that favour the seller in the overall singlefamily market has resulted in a boost in demand in the condominium market and surrounding towns,” said Ann- Marie Lurie, CREB®’s chief economist. “Inventory levels declined across all of these segments. However, surrounding towns remain in balanced territory, as they experienced the effect of previously elevated inventory levels.”
After the first four months of the year, condominium apartment sales totalled 1,258 units, an 11 per cent increase over the previous year. Sales growth outpaced the number of new listings, causing inventory levels to decline to 893 units. This pushed towards a sellers’ market.
Those tighter market conditions in the condominium market supported a year-over-year benchmark price growth of 7.35 per cent. Unlike the single-family sector however, prices remain well below unadjusted highs recorded in 2007.
Walters said a move to a sellers’ market will encourage those who have been waiting for price recovery to put their homes on the market. This, in turn, will provide more choices for buyers.
“New listings have been declining for the last few years as prices had not recovered,” she said. “People who did not have to sell chose to hold off. Price improvement can encourage new listings, easing some of the tension on the supply levels.”
There were 3,497 new residential listings in the city, an eight per cent increase compared to 2012 and sales activity increased to a total of 2,376. Residential year-to-date sales improved by nearly four per cent compared to the same time in 2012. Citywide benchmark prices totalled $406,000, a seven per cent increase over the previous year.
Lurie said at this time in 2012 there was much more economic risk weighing on the minds of consumers. The short-term sellers’ market will be tempered by overall supply; making it unlikely the city will see a repeat of 2007 conditions this year.
In a report released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), residential sales for the first quarter of the year increased three per cent over the same period in 2012 totalling 6,274 units.
“Calgary’s housing market continues to defy national softening trends as gains in the employment sector, migrant growth, rising wages and low interest rates are translating into growing demand for housing,” said Lurie.
The CMHC said employment in Calgary for the first quarter of 2013 increased two per cent year-over-year.
“Continued development of Alberta’s natural resources has been a key contributor to the economic and employment growth in Calgary,” the report reads. “The rise in employment occurred solely among full-time jobs as they increased 3.1 per cent for the first quarter while part-time jobs declined 3.7 per cent from the same quarter in 2012.”