Sales activity increase led by lower-priced homes

CREB Media release: Sales activity increase led by lower-priced homes

City of Calgary, September 3, 2019 – Increased sales and easing new listings reduced housing inventories in August. Sales were primarily driven by homes priced below $500,000.

“Employment numbers have been improving, but mostly in industries that are traditionally lower paid,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “This is contributing to the shift that we are seeing in the housing market, with growth being limited to product priced below $500,000.” 

Rising sales for homes priced under $500,000 offset sales declines in the higher price ranges. This caused August sales to improve by six per cent compared to last year. 

Sales activity improved for all product types. The growth was largest for apartment-style and attached properties. 

Attached sales increased for the sixth consecutive month compared to the previous year. This is also the only property type with year-to-date sales higher than last year’s levels. 

New listings continued to ease this month, which caused inventory to decline. This is helping the market shift toward more balanced conditions.

The amount of downward pressure on prices is also easing. At $426,000, the unadjusted citywide benchmark price this month remained comparable to last month, but 2.6 per cent lower than last year’s levels.

Despite improving sales and reductions in inventory, housing market recovery will take time. Inventory levels remain elevated and sales activity is still well below historical norms. The market continues to favour the buyer, with over four months of supply.



  • Year-to-date detached sales remain just below last year’s levels, but sales improved in the South and North West districts this month.  
  • Citywide growth has been driven by homes priced under $500,000. Meanwhile, easing sales and elevated inventories among homes priced above $500,000 have increased the months of supply, pushing it further into buyers’ market territory.
  • Benchmark prices in August ranged from a year-over-year decline of over five per cent in the South district to a decline of nearly one per cent in the South East.    


  • For the second month in a row, sales activity improved for apartment-style homes, but these gains were met with a rise in new listings. This prevented any significant adjustments to inventory levels and kept the months of supply elevated.
  • Sales activity remains just below last year’s levels. On average, the amount of inventory in the market this year has eased compared to last year.
  • Citywide benchmark prices in August eased compared to last year, but the East, South East and North East districts recorded modest gains. Despite those gains, prices remain well below 2014 highs.


  • For the sixth consecutive month, year-over-year attached sales improved in the city. This has resulted in year-to-date sales of 2,665 units, nearly a five per cent increase compared to the previous year. At the same time, new listings continue to ease, causing further reductions in inventory.
  • The months of supply have moved from over six months at this time last year to under five months in August.
  • These improvements have supported some monthly gains in benchmark prices, but August benchmark prices remain 2.6 per cent below last year’s levels.

Free activities? No way!

If you are on a tight budget, like to save money, or just enjoy having some fun, Calgary is the place to be. There are so many free activities both for adults and children. Next time you hear, “Mommm, I’m bored,” or you feel the imminent need to get out of the house, take time to look over this list. Free? Yes, all free!

Mobile adventure playground – A drop-in playground moves to various parks throughout Calgary to offer a different way to play. Onsite play ambassadors are there to inspire play and keep the playground safe. Parents stay with their children and watch their children play.

Skateparks enthusiasts have opportunities for participation through the City’s seven permanent skate parks and skate spots.

Music in the park – Pack a picnic, bring a blanket or lawn chair, sit back, relax and enjoy live music in a beautiful outdoor park setting. Featuring different artists from a variety of musical genres. Check out the website for the 2019 summer line-up.

Pure cycle outdoor – In partnership with Apple Fitness, free pop up outdoor pure cycle fitness classes are offered this summer. Each class is 55 minutes. Reserve a spot online and location at

Park n’ Play / Stay n’ Play – High quality programs for children aged 3 – 12. These programs offer many different activities including crafts, games and active play in various communities in the city. See additional family activities and events at the bottom of page.

Youth leadership programs – Drop-in and registered youth leadership programs at locations across the city.

Lawn chair theatre – Bring your lawn chair, snacks and watch live entertainment for the whole family. Free, no registration required, and at various locations in the city.

Discover Nose Hill Park – Free registered program will focus on everything Nose Hill Park has to offer. Learn about the history through guided walks, nature education and engaging activities. The program is for children ages 6-12 years old.

Calgary spray parks – Canmore Park, Eau Claire Plaza, Prairie Winds Park, Rotary Park, South Glenmore Park, Valleyview Park.

Calgary wading pools – Bowness park, Eau Clair Plaza, Prairie Winds Park, Riley Park.

You can view details of the activities noted above at or call 3-1-1. You can even build and save your own personal program guide.

Glenbow Free First Thursday Nights – Free admission 5pm-9pm.

Calgary Police Museum – 50 hands-on exhibits for adults and families, such as fingerprint experiments, kids on patrol, forensics lab. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to keep a major city safe, here’s your chance to find out. Free admission with a suggested $5 donation.

New Central Library – Explore this 4 level architecturally stunning library.

Have a picnic with the geese at Prince’s Island Park.

TD Devonian Gardens – Visit the world’s largest indoor botanical garden, complete with 20,000 species of plants, a small pond, a stream, and a school of coy.

The City currently has 22 parks with permanent outdoor fitness equipment. These locations can be found by searching – or Google ‘The City of Calgary – Parks with fitness equipment’.

Festivals (some costs may apply):

Taste of Calgary – August 8-11, 2019 11am – 10pm

Inglewood Night Market – August 9, 2019 5pm-11pm

Marda Gras – August 11, 2019 10 am – 5 pm

Movies at the Meadows – Outdoor drive-in movie @ Spruce Meadows August 15, 2019 7:30pm-11:30pm – $20/carload

GlobalFest – Aug 15-24, 2019 – Simply amazing! Kids under 5 are free. This is unlike any other festival, world-class pyrotechnicians will blow your socks off (not literally).

Chinatown Street Festival – August 17, 2019 11am-7pm

Sunflower Festival – August 24, 2019 11 am-5pm.

Get out there, do something, get moving, enjoy our city. If the best things in life are free, we have a very good thing going here in Calgary.


Calgary Housing Market Continues to Balance

CREB Media release: Sales improving and inventory declines for fourth month in a row

City of Calgary, August 1, 2019 – For the fourth consecutive month, inventories in the market declined compared to last year. This is due to the combination of improving sales and a decline in new listings. 

The market continues to favour the buyer, but a continuation in supply reduction compared to sales is needed to support more balanced conditions.

“We are starting to see reductions in supply across the resale, rental and new-home markets,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“This adjustment in supply to the lower levels of demand will support more balanced conditions. It is starting to support more stability in prices. If this continues, the housing market should be better positioned for recovery as we move into 2020.”

Year-to-date sales activity remains just below last year’s levels and well below longer-term averages. However, the reduction in inventory has caused the months of supply in July to ease to 4.5 months, a significant improvement from the 5.5 months recorded last year.  

With less oversupply in the market, prices are showing some signs of stability on a monthly basis. This is causing the rate of price decline to ease on a year-over-year basis. Overall, year-to-date benchmark prices remain over four per cent below last year’s levels.



  • Sales activity in July was slightly higher than last year’s levels, but it was not enough to offset earlier declines, as year-to-date sales remain just below last year’s levels. Despite overall declines, trends vary significantly by price range. Year-to-date sales for product priced below $500,000 have improved by 11 per cent compared to last year, while sales over $500,000 have declined by nearly 16 per cent. 
  • New listings continue to ease for detached product, reducing inventory across most price ranges. This is also starting to result in year-over-year declines in the months of supply for all prices ranges except homes over $1 million. 
  • Adjustments in sales and inventories also vary significantly by district. Year-to-date sales have declined across all districts except the North West and South districts. Easing inventories have not occurred across all districts, with year-over-year July inventory gains occurring in both the City Centre and West districts. 
  • Buyers’ market conditions persist, with detached benchmark prices at $488,400 in July. This is over three per cent lower than last year’s levels. Price declines range from a high of 5.7 per cent in the South district to a low of 1.4 per cent in the North East district.


  • Despite improvement in July, year-to-date sales for apartment condominiums eased by over four per cent and remain well below longer-term averages.
  • Available rental supply and ample selection in the new-home sector have impacted sales in the resale market. However, inventories continue to adjust, reducing the oversupply in this sector. 
  • With conditions favouring the buyer, prices continue to edge down. However, year-to-date benchmark price declines are not occurring across all districts, with modest gains occurring in the North East district. 


  • The attached sector is the only sector with recorded growth in year-to-date sales, up nearly four per cent. The affordable nature of this product, relative to detached, has likely supported some of these gains. 
  • The number of new listings continues to ease. This is causing inventory declines and reductions in oversupply. Like the other sectors, this segment continues to favour the buyer, preventing any significant changes in prices.
  • Both row and semi-detached prices remain over three per cent lower than last year’s levels and well below historical highs. Attached price declines have been the highest in the City Centre district at over five per cent.



  • For the fifth consecutive month, year-over-year sales improved in Airdrie. Year-to-date sales reached 757 units, over three per cent higher than last year. Improving sales combined with declines in new listings have resulted in less inventory in the market compared to last year. This market is moving toward balanced conditions.
  • Oversupply is easing, but July benchmark prices remain over three per cent below last year’s levels. There are steeper price declines occurring in the higher density sectors of the market.


  • Year-to-date residential sales in Cochrane totalled 376 units, slightly lower then last year’s levels. New listings have been in decline, resulting in the fourth consecutive month with a year-over-year decline in inventory. 
  • This has caused the amount of oversupply to ease, supporting more stability in pricing. As of July, the benchmark price in Cochrane is $408,300, over four per cent lower than last year’s levels.


  • Total residential sales in Okotoks have totalled 321 units so far in 2019. This is similar to last year, but below long-term trends. New listings continue to trend down, supporting inventory declines and easing in the months of supply. 
  • As the amount of oversupply in the market eases, prices have been showing signs of improvement compared to the previous month. However, year-to-date benchmark prices remain over four per cent lower than last year’s levels.

Calgary’s First Lake Community

I grew up in Acadia. That’s not really part of this story, but I’ll make it fit anyway. Our home was a Keith-built home. E.V. (Ellis Vee) Keith was a legendary builder and developer in Calgary. Keith said, “We’ve got housebuilding down now as fine as you can get it without making it complete in the factory,” And most of the prefabricated parts for Keith’s mass-produced houses were made by Keith-owned companies. Below is an advertisement dated October 6, 1960 from the Calgary Herald. Excellent marketing, in my opinion.

By 1960, he had built 1200 houses which amounted to about a quarter of all houses in Calgary. He was known to say, “Give them something that they don’t expect.” He did just that. He was responsible for the city’s first golf course community in Willow Park. When he saw manmade lake communities in California, he figured why not build one in Calgary too. So in 1967, E.V. Keith began digging up a massive green space in the city’s southeast to build a lake. Lake Bonavista with its high-end homes became the first manmade lake community in Canada. Enough dirt was moved from this 24-hectare manmade lake to create a 65-foot hill with a waterfall adjacent to the lake. In addition to Lake Bonavista, the 16-hectare Lake Bonaventure was also create, only accessed through the Lake Bonavista neighbourhood.

He pioneered the first architectural controls that builders had to follow in his neighbourhoods, this is still part of the creation of communities today. He was a visionary and would ask his staff: “After all the dust is settled, the community is built and the people are there, what will you say your legacy is?”

I like stories like this because it’s about an ordinary man with a exceptional work ethic, producing quality that still stands the test of time (my 59 year Keith-built home in Acadia is as solid as ever!). Likely most of us will never have the opportunity to take on such bold ground breaking initiatives, but I think the lesson I take away is,  our legacy isn’t just about what we did or what mark we made, but it’s how well we did it and if it added value to the live’s of others.

Different Direction Drivers

Over the last few years, a number of my friends have lost their jobs. At one time, in a land far far away they lived with the perception that job security actually existed. It’s a sad reality that a good job, considered once untouchable, can very quickly  become a very low and heartbreaking point in someone’s life. I have become a little immune to all the unemployment statistics that are tossed around and then quickly forgotten before the next news headline. When I hear facts and numbers, I think more about the effect of real people with real lives. We’ve all heard things like, ‘Calgary has the highest unemployment rate in all of Canada; 100,000 have lost their jobs in the oil patch; just last month 17,000 lost full time jobs; unemployment is shared with 192 million people worldwide..’  Do they wonder if they’ll ever work again?  How are they supposed to survive?  Where do they go from there?

Now, before you think this whole blog is a downer (first of all, you don’t know me very well) let me tell you about people that I know. These are people, although initially shocked with the new reality of their life, did something creative about it.  This was effected when they realized their past life offered a daily 2 hour commute; meeting upon endless meeting; the revelation that their 9 square meter cubicle was the reason their medication dosage had been increased;  daily lunch repeating itself more than CNN does; and the removal of original thought with business cliches (to be honest, the pipeline, reaching out, organic growth, core competency, value add, price point…).

So what did these people all do?  They became entrepreneurs and Different Direction Drivers (my new cliche, feel free to use it until it’s overused and then stop immediately, please!!!).   These people have become carpet cleaners, bookkeepers, virtual assistants, marketers, graphic designers, bakers and caterers, landscapers, contractors, photographers, web designers, caregivers, consultants, tutors, real estate agents, mortgage broker, hair stylists, house cleaners, and more.

Really, what they are is survivors. You can never mess with a survivor, they know they can’t be broken. Being hopeful, ingenious, and ultimately successful sometimes comes about because faced with no other choice, they must simply trudge on in a new direction. The other night I watched a movie about a man trying to survive the harsh conditions in the Arctic after his airplane crashed. He was very inventive and disciplined, showing that his will to live was strong. He used every method of survival that he knew about so that he would be rescued.  Hopefulness was evident by his actions, and with little resources or energy he used his strong mind to survive.

The daily news is troubling to say the least.  Sometimes what we experience in life is even worse than the news.  Subtle is not how I would describe life, I’d say it’s more about sudden motion, curves, spins, plummets, ripples, and remarkable highs and saddening lows.  Ultimately the secret to success when unemployment strikes is how we deal with this new and uncomfortable climate so that it effects a positive change in our lives.   We may be one second away from dropping the cliches and starting a new life.  We must also remember that it’s not  statistics that will hurt us, it’s giving up, giving in and not finding our way out of that cubicle.

Second month of improved sales activity

Media release: Sales activity improves for second consecutive month

City of Calgary, June 3, 2019 – 

Sales growth in May was met with a decline in new listings. This combination eased the pressure on inventory levels, which finished the month at 7,467 units, a decline of 12 per cent compared to last year.

Improving sales relative to inventory levels caused the months of supply to ease to just under four months. While still oversupplied, this is an improvement from the five months of supply recorded last May.

Citywide sales in May totalled 1,921 units, 11 per cent higher than last year’s levels. However, sales remain 10 per cent below longer-term trends. This sales growth was primarily driven by homes priced under $500,000.

“While sales activity remains low based on historical activity for May, the easing prices have brought some people back to market, while also preventing some others from listing their homes,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“This has started to push the market towards more balanced conditions. If this trend continues, it could limit some of the downward pressure on prices.”

Citywide benchmark prices totalled $423,100 in May. Prices have shown some signs of improvement month-over-month but remain four per cent lower than 2018 levels. 



  • Detached sales in May totalled 1,182 units. This is a 12 per cent increase over last year, but still 13 per cent below long-term averages. The improvement in sales was driven primarily by gains in homes priced under $500,000.
  • Sales activity increased across most districts in May. However, year-to-dates sales have only increased in the East, South and North East districts of the city. Citywide sales remain one per cent lower than last year’s levels.
  • New listings in May pulled back significantly from previous year’s levels. Combined with an improvement in sales, this resulted in inventories declining from 4,504 units last May to 3,921 units this month. This is the first time since May 2017 that year-over-year inventories declined.
  • Easing inventory and improving sales caused months of supply to ease to 3.3 months. This is still elevated compared to historical levels, but represents an improvement compared to levels from the past year. 
  • Prices have remained relatively stable over the past few months, with some modest monthly improvements. However, the oversupply scenario has left prices four per cent lower than last year and seven per cent lower than 2014 highs. 


  • The improvement in monthly sales was not enough to offset previous declines. Year-to-date apartment sales sit at 1,030 units. This is seven per cent lower than last year and 28 per cent lower than longer-term averages. Easing sales were met with fewer new listings, reducing the market inventory. This pushed months of supply to just over five months.
  • If the reduction in oversupply continues, it will eventually help limit price declines. However, this market remains oversupplied and prices continue to edge down. 
  • May benchmark prices totalled $246,900, 0.6 per cent lower than last month and nearly three per cent lower than last year’s levels. This is resulting in a total price adjustment of over 17 per cent since 2014.


  • Attached sales activity continue to improve in May. Year-to-date sales improved by two per cent, making this the only sector to record a year-to-date improvement. Improvements occurred throughout most districts of the city, apart from the City Centre, North West and West districts. 
  • New listings have also pulled back relative to sales. This is causing inventories to ease compared to last year and months of supply to trend down.
  • Benchmark prices remain five per cent lower than last year’s levels but have seen some modest gains on a month-to-month basis. Despite some signs of improvement, prices remain 10 per cent lower than 2014 highs.

Setting The Stage

May 29, 2019

The vast majority of home buyers start their search online.  Newspapers, flyers, door hangers are a thing of the past.  Buyers want to sit with their mobile device on a Monday night at 9 pm (the most likely time, by the way) and scroll through one house after another. HGTV forever changed the way people look at houses.  They turn the falling-apart and beyond-all-hope into something so beautiful you wish HGTV would knock on your door, tell you to book into a hotel for a month, and surprise you with a new reason to live. Often the biggest appeal of a home comes when it is staged. You’ll know a staged home – Stacked colourful books, green apples in bowls, pillows and throws everywhere; three lime green round ornaments; rugs, fresh flowers and fake plants, olive oil and Himalayan Salt shaker, and wine bottles. It’s magical. Once finished with the inside, the team of staging experts go outside and transform the curb and its appeal into an experience only found in the enchanted garden .

Most buyers will look at a listing and the first thing they will do is click through the photos.  If the REALTOR® has done their job, the photos have been professionally done (no toilet seats up, my pet peeve). A virtual tour should always be part of the listing.  The key is making sure the buyer doesn’t see it all from their recliner, there should be an element of wanting to see the property in person. If they see it all, they’ll pick at things they don’t like before even setting foot in the home, if they decide to do even that. If the home is vacant then photos of blank walls, the countertop, the laminate doesn’t really say, I really need to see amazing building materials in that $450,000 box. I’ve worked with staging companies, and they do an excellent job of helping the buyer to imagine how they could live in the space.  The drawback is the cost.  The last house I was involved in with staging was done by an excellent professional staging company. They charged a fee to set up, and then a monthly fee thereafter.  This amounted to well over $5000 during the for sale period (a cost to ponder upon should the home not sell).  Some statistics show that homes sell quicker when they are staged.  Let’s face it, we all want pretty things to look at and we’d prefer to buy pretty. . A new trend is virtual staging (VS).  I really like this, especially with a vacant property.   It’s cheaper than physically staging a home.   I’ve seen prices ranging  from $30-$75 an image, so if there are 20 images to virtually stage, do the math, it’s still expensive.  Recently, I listed a vacant property in East Village, and the VS was amazing.   The $450,000 box came alive, and the professional photos show it.  It looked less sadly alone and more vibrantly executive.

Just one more thing to add, and not because my husband is a painter, okay maybe partly because of that..a fresh coat of paint in any home has one of the best returns on investment (ROI).  It’s not a guarantee but it potentially could increase the value of a home. It’s better to get that paint brush out than to leave odd wall colors or beat up trim for the buyer to complain about, and most likely they will. All the staging in the world will not help a weathered house look better. Just a few cans of paint and you can easily freshen up a house.

To those that are selling their home, set the stage for success and remember “the first impression is the only impression.” (HGTV told me that).

Newsletter / Jan 2019

Lessons Learned From My Father

My Father was an insurance salesman.  For 40 years he proudly offered and sold products that people often didn’t know they needed, but did.  He made sure they were covered, and when anything happened, he was there.   He loved what he did, and he did it well.  To him working was not just about the commission cheque (that he duly earned), it was about people.  He truly cared about his clients.  I watched my father carefully through all those years, and in doing so I became my father’s daughter.  Before my father passed away at the age of 75, I had the opportunity to write and present to him, the following:

75 Things I’ve Learned from My Father

  1. Smile, always smile
  2. You’ll usually win (anything) if you smile
  3. You can get away with more if you smile
  4. Be kind
  5. If someone isn’t kind, move on
  6. Make others happy
  7. Come up with good ideas
  8. Work for others
  9. If the world dislikes someone and you don’t, then hang in, the world might come around.  If not, maybe you will.
  10. Hope for the best
  11. Love more than someone loves you
  12. Be ethical
  13. Be diligent
  14. Above all else be loyal
  15. Love animals
  16. Buy a great car
  17. Ask questions
  18. Be sensitive
  19. If someone loses their way, never stop helping them find it again. 
  20. Laugh.  Hugely!
  21. Be righteous, but not overly
  22. Be a leader by example
  23. Read
  24. Love nature
  25. Make others comfortable
  26. Look for the best in others
  27. You’ll make mistakes 
  28. Be successful, take risks
  29. Apologize
  30. Don’t fight
  31. If you do fight, apologize
  32. Be appreciative
  33. Take vacations regularly
  34. Make money, spend money., then make more money
  35. There will be a new world, never EVER doubt that
  36. Find solutions 
  37. Be sentimental
  38. If you find yourself in bad straits, come up with a plan, you’ll work through it
  39. Let others do things for you that they’re better at. 
  40. 40.If given bad news, take it, but never let it destroy you.
  41. Take your job seriously and never for granted
  42. The best thing in life sometimes is just a beer and a steak sandwich
  43. Move forward, appreciate the past, live in the present
  44. 44.Be conversational
  45. Love your family
  46. 46.Get things done that need doing!
  47. It’s okay to cry 
  48. It’s okay to get mad, but get over it
  49. 49.Stand up for everything you believe in
  50. It’s okay to be mischievous once in awhile
  51. Be proud of your family
  52. Compliment others
  53. Be generous
  54. On a sales call, know when to shut up
  55. Be your own boss
  56. Don’t give up
  57. Act in such a way that will make others proud of you
  58. Don’t forget where you came from
  59. Be interested in people
  60. 60.Don’t stop being busy
  61. Know when it’s time to take a nap
  62. Respect others opinions
  63. Be a team player
  64. 64.Always have a nice pen
  65. Know when to follow, when to lead
  66. 66.Bad things happen
  67. Good things happen more
  68. Put sand bags in the back of the car in winter
  69. 69.Teach someone something
  70. Write from the heart
  71. Putter
  72. Don’t let loss destroy you
  73. Don’t complain
  74. Stick to what you know is right
  75. Never give up