Demand for homes remain high with record sales in April

May 3, 2021 –There were 3,209 sales in April, a new record high for the month, as Calgary’s housing market continues to bounce back from the pandemic lows recorded in 2020.”Despite entering the third wave of COVID-19, there is more optimism of economic recovery when the economy re-opens,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.”However, the recent surge in home sales could be a result of potential buyers wanting to enter the market before any further changes occur in prices, interest rates and lending policy. This could erode some of their purchasing power.” Recent price gains and tight market conditions have also encouraged many sellers to list their home this month. However, demand was strong enough to absorb the additional supply, ensuring the market continues to favour the seller.With 4,670 new listings coming onto the market in April, inventory levels trended up relative to last month and last year. With the elevated sales, the months of supply remains below two months.Persistently tight market conditions are causing significant upward pressure on prices. For the second consecutive month, the unadjusted benchmark price rose by more than two per cent compared with the previous month and more than nine per cent compared with last year’s levels. While sales improved across most price ranges, product priced above $600,000 represented 25 per cent of the sales that occurred this month. This is a significant increase from last year when they only represented 12 per cent of sales. The shift in distribution is causing both the average and median prices to record double-digit year-over-year price gains.

HOUSING MARKET FACTS
Detached
Detached homes hit a new record high for the month with 2,046 sales in April. Gains in new listings helped support stronger sales, but they did little to ease the persistent sellers’ market conditions. The months of supply remained well below two months in this segment, which is contributing to a steady climb in prices. As of April, the benchmark price rose to $529,100. This is nearly 11 per cent higher than last year and more than $30,000 higher than levels recorded at the start of 2021. The recent gains were enough to push the benchmark price to a new high, reflecting full price recovery from 2014 levels. Strong price gains occurred across most districts in the city thanks to persistently tight conditions. However, the pace of price adjustments did vary depending on location. The City Centre district has seen the slowest rebound and prices remain nearly seven per cent below previous highs.

Semi-Detached
Following several months of strong sales, year-to-date sales reached record highs in April with 888 sales. This is the only property type to reach record highs based on year-to-date figures. Gains occurred across every district and price range. Like the other sectors, gains in new listings were not enough to move the market out of sellers’ conditions, as the months of supply remained below two months. The tight market conditions supported price growth across all districts, with the strongest year-over-year gains occurring in the North, North West, and South East districts. In April, year-over-year price gains in these districts were above 12 per cent, which was enough to support new monthly record-high prices. 

Row
After the first four months of the year, row sales totalled 1,217 units. This the best start to the year since 2007, and well above long-term averages. New listings in this sector have also been on the rise, causing inventories to trend up. Supply has risen above levels recorded last April, but strong sales compared to inventory levels have caused the months of supply to remain just above two months. This is significantly lower than the longer-term average, which is closer to four months. While these conditions have only persisted over the past three months, prices have been slower to climb. As of April, row benchmark prices climbed to $293,400. Prices have been trending up across all districts of the city, but they remain well below previous highs. 

Apartment Condominium
Further improvements in April resulted in 1,280 year-to-date sales in this sector, which is the strongest sales seen over the past six years. New listings also remained high compared to typical levels and inventories continued to rise. There was more inventory in the market, but the improvement in sales did cause further reductions in the months of supply. In April, the months of supply was just over four months. This is fairly consistent with longer-term trends and reflects the most balanced conditions seen for some time. With less oversupply in the market, prices have been trending up and in April the benchmark price was $251,900. This is more than three per cent higher than last year. Price improvements did vary by location and it will take some time for prices to recover to previous highs. For example, there was a two per cent year-over-year increase in the City Centre, where most of the condo sales occur, but prices remain nearly 17 per cent lower than previous highs.

REGIONAL MARKET FACTS
Airdrie 
Sales activity remained strong in April, as purchasers took advantage of the gains in new listings this month. The recent rise in new listings has caused inventories to increase relative to the past several months, but it did little to ease the sellers’ market conditions that have existed since last year.Persistent sellers’ market conditions placed upward pressure on prices, which as of April sit nearly 10 per cent higher than last year. Prices started improving last year, but over the past several months the months of supply have been just over one month, contributing to the faster pace of price growth this month. As of April, the benchmark price was $365,100. This is only slightly lower than record highs, due to lower price figures from the apartment and row sectors. Both the detached and semi-detached sectors have seen prices fully recover to previous highs.

Cochrane 
April sales rose again compared with last month’s record highs. New listings also remained elevated, but it was not enough to meet the demand, as the 178 sales outpaced the 161 new listings. Inventory fell to 172 units, which is the lowest April level recorded since 2007. The months of supply dropped below one month in April, which is causing steep price gains. The unadjusted benchmark price in April hit a new record high at $439,300. This is nearly four per cent higher than last month and eight per cent higher than last year’s levels.

Okotoks
Improvements in new listings this month were nearly matched by sales activity, keeping inventory low. In April there were 108 units in inventory, which is over 50 per cent lower than typical levels for this month. The low inventory levels and strong sales caused the months of supply to fall to one month.Like other areas, Okotoks is experiencing strong price growth. In April, the unadjusted benchmark price reached a new record high at $463,000. This is nearly three per cent higher than last month and over 11 per cent higher than prices recorded last year.

Divorce and the H-O-U-S-E

Tammy Wynette sang about it, 40-50% end up doing it, and it ranks as the second most stressful life event.   I am referring to D-I-V-O-R-C-E.  Since Covid-19 infected our lives, marriages have been undermined by economic, mental and emotional issues.  Take all of these challenges and throw them within four walls (and a roof) and some marriages have collapsed. What happens though when “for better or for worse…as long as you both shall live,’ is no longer a solemn promise but more of an expensive bout of insanity, resulting in two kids, a dog, and a house?

Kids and the dog aside, what happens during a divorce to the matrimonial home? I’ve worked with a number of couples during their divorce.  Tension and irritability often marked their interactions, but they were delighted to see me as the accelerator of their closure. One couple that I represented decided to stay in their house during the divorce.  She moved out eventually, while he stayed in their gorgeous estate home. He kept the home pristine, so it sold quickly. They went their separate ways and never the twain shall meet again.  My clients from another divorce both sprung out of the house during a major disagreement. Everything was gone, wiped clean like breadcrumbs off a countertop. Not a stitch of furniture left. Before the for sale sign went up, the house was professionally staged. As to be expected with such staging and signage, an offer came in.  My clients had previously communicated to me what they wanted in terms of price and terms, and my duty was to deliver on that.   So I did.  Digital signing made the transaction effortless and clean. Neither of them had to interact.

In Alberta, a matrimonial home cannot be sold, rented, or mortgaged without the written consent of both parties.  This is also the case when only one spouse is registered on title. Over a hundred years ago, Emily Murphy (one of the Famous Five) campaigned for women’s property rights. As was the case at that time, many women were left penniless when their husband’s sold the homestead out from under them. This dire situation was dealt with under new legislation. In 1917, the ‘Dower Act’ provided protection to a living spouse, a home could not be sold without written consent. This act also applied to a widow who would receive the right’s to the life estate.

During a divorce, before the house goes up for sale it’s good to know what the potential costs are.

  • Is there a mortgage penalty? Contact your lender or mortgage broker.
  • What are the closing costs?  Contact a real estate lawyer.
  • Will I need to stage the home? Get quotes from staging companies.
  • Does my home need any repairs or maintenance? Contact a contractor, painter, cleaning company, for example.
  • Is there a current and updated Real Property Report (RPR)? If not, contact a land survey company.
  • What will the real estate costs cover and what will those cover?  Contact Jacqui Williamson

There are multiple reasons why divorce is so stressful, in fact only the loss a loved one in death tops it. (Life Change Index Scale). I think (in part) it’s because all the memories collected within a home can’t be neatly packaged up. The void that is left loudly proclaims what should never have happened, but sadly did. While those years are never lost, they never will find their way back. The kids, the dog are living proof of past happiness and joy. While the hamsters, budgie, bunny, turtle and goldfish only reside in the love the kids once had for them. Leaving the key behind, the front door closes, and just one more look. There may be a few tears, but likely there is a feeling of relief.

Getting the right REALTOR® is key to selling a home in any situation, but when it is complicated by divorce, whether amicable or contentious, it is not just the right REALTOR® that is needed, but also a skilled professional that is empathetic and kind, that treats both parties with dignity and respect.

I’m that R-E-A-L-T-O-R®.

This is written for general information purposes only, and is not intended as legal advice.

Modest gains in Calgary housing market expected in 2021

Media release: Modest gains in Calgary housing market expected in 2021  

Calgary, Jan. 26, 2021 – In 2020, housing markets across the country surprised many with a stronger-than-expected rebound in the second half of the year despite record-high unemployment rates and significant job losses.

Calgary did not hit record-high sales or prices in the third or fourth quarters, but still posted some of the strongest sales relative to the past five years. This was nearly enough to offset the initial losses recorded during the first shutdown caused by the pandemic. 

“It is expected some of the momentum recorded at the end of 2020 will continue into 2021, fueled by exceptionally low lending rates and pent-up demand,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® Chief Economist.

“While sales are expected to rise by nearly five per cent on an annual basis in 2021, persistent economic challenges are expected to prevent stronger growth in our housing market.”

Reduction in supply relative to sales is the primary reason the Calgary housing market returned to more balanced conditions by the end of 2020. The pullback in new listings relative to sales activity resulted in inventory levels falling to the lowest levels seen in the past several years.

As we move into 2021, we anticipate new listings will start to rise, as COVID-19 likely caused many homeowners to delay listing their homes. We could start to see some supply come back in 2021, as concerns regarding the spread of the virus ease. Persistently high unemployment rates could also weigh on some existing homeowners who may need to sell their homes.

Growth in supply is expected to offset some of the gains in sales, pushing our market to the upper bounds of balanced conditions and slowing price recovery. However, the price gains that occurred at the end of 2020 are not expected to be eroded and 2021 annual prices are forecasted to improve by over one per cent. 

“This year has been filled with twists and turns all over the world. The Calgary housing market was no exception,” said Alan Tennant, CREB® President and CEO.

“However, our local REALTORS® continued to serve at a high level by connecting homebuyers and sellers through this difficult period in a safe and timely manner.”

Amongst economic challenges, housing market ends 2020 on a high note

Amidst economic challenges, housing market ends 2020 on a high note

City of Calgary, January 4, 2021 –

With December sales of 1,199, this is the highest December total since 2007.

“Housing demand over the second-half of 2020 was far stronger than anticipated and nearly offset the initial impact caused by the shutdowns in spring. Even with the further restrictions imposed in December, it did not have the same negative impact on housing activity like we saw in the earlier part of the year,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

Attractive interest rates along with prices that remain lower than several years ago have likely supported some of the recovery in the second half of the year. However, it is important to note that annual sales activity declined by one per cent compared to last year and remain well below long-term averages.

New listings in December increased by 11 per cent. However, the number of sales exceeded the number of new listings in December contributing to further declines in inventory.

Reductions in supply and improving demand in the second half of the year have contributed to some of the recent price improvements in the market. However, the recent gain in the benchmark price was not enough to offset earlier pullbacks as the annual residential benchmark price in Calgary declined by one per cent over last year. 

The pandemic has resulted in a significant shift in economic conditions, yet the housing market is entering 2021 in far more balanced conditions than we have seen in over five years. This will help provide some cushion for the market moving into 2021, but conditions will continue to vary depending on price range, location, and product type. 

More information about the 2021 housing market forecast for Calgary will be available at the CREB® Forecast on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. 

For more event details, please visit crebforecast.com.

HOUSING MARKET FACTS

Detached

Stronger sales in the second half of the year were enough to offset earlier pullbacks as detached sales totalled 9,950, just slightly higher than last years’ levels. Despite the modest gain, detached sales activity remains at the lower levels recorded since the stress test was introduced in 2018.

Supply adjustments is causing sellers’ market conditions for detached homes across all districts except the West and City Centre. This has helped support some price recovery in the market over the past several months.

Annual city-wide price remains relatively flat compared to last year, but there were notable annual gains in both the South and South East districts which both recorded price gains of nearly two per cent. Despite some of the annual shifts seen, prices remain well below previous highs in all districts of the city.

Semi-Detached

Sales growth in the North East, North, West and South East district were offset by declines in the City Centre, North West, South and East districts. Sales this year of 1,663 were similar to levels recorded last year.

While sales did not improve across each district, there were reductions in supply across all districts and is helping to reduce the months of supply. 

These reductions are starting to impact prices, but it was not enough to offset earlier pullbacks. City wide semi-detached prices eased by over one per cent in 2020, with the largest declines occurring in the City Centre, North West and West areas.

Row

Slower sales in the west district were not enough to offset the gains recorded in the rest of the city. Row sales totalled 2,145 in 2020, nearly two per cent higher than last years’ levels. Despite the gains, levels continue to remain below long-term averages for the city.

Rising sales were generally met with a reduction in supply. This is causing the months of supply to trend down, especially over the second half of the year. 

The decline in the months of supply was enough to help support some stability in prices. However, the adjustment did not occur soon enough and annual prices eased by nearly two per cent compared to the previous year and remain nearly 14 per cent below previous highs. 

Price adjustments did vary depending on location. The steepest decline occurred in the North East with a year-over-year decline of five per cent. The strongest gain occurred in the West district with a two per cent rise. 

Apartment Condominium

Sales this month were the best December since 2014. However, it was not enough to offset earlier pullbacks as apartment condominium sales eased by ten per cent in 2020. This is the slowest year for apartment condo sales since 2001 and the only property type to record a significant annual decline in sales.

Unlike other property types, supply levels have not adjusted in the same way and this segment remains oversupplied. Prices have trended down over the past two months due to excess supply. On an annual basis, the benchmark price declined by over two per cent this year and is over 16 per cent below the highs set in 2015.

REGIONAL MARKET FACTS

Airdrie

December sales reached a new record high for the month. Improving sales throughout the second half of the year contributed to the annual sales of 1,407, a year-over-year gain of 18 per cent.  

New listings also rose in December and is likely contributing to some of the monthly gains in sales. Overall, new listings have remained well below last year. Along with improving sales, this is causing inventories to decline. 

Months of supply has remained below three months since June and prices have trended up. By December, the benchmark price had risen by nearly five per cent compared to last year. 

On an annual basis, the gains in price were enough to offset the earlier pullbacks and is creating stability in prices. However, this was not the case for all product types. Detached prices rose by nearly two per cent on an annual basis. Benchmark prices for row and apartment style product eased by a respective seven and one per cent compared to last year.

Cochrane

Record sales in December contributed to the annual gain of 16 per cent, making it the best year of sales compared to the past five years. New listings in 2020 also eased compared to last year. Rising sales and less new listings on the market caused inventories to ease to the lowest levels recorded since 2014. 

With months of supply of only two months, prices continued to trend up. December benchmark price was $419,900 and is a 5 per cent gain over last year. Prices have trended up over that past six months but remain relatively stable compared to last year. This is due to easing prices for higher density products offsetting gains in the detached sector.

Okotoks

Despite further declines in new listings, December sales improved. Year-to-date sales increased by nearly eight per cent. The lack of new listings and stronger sales caused inventories to drop to 63 homes in December, the lowest level for any month seen since 2006. 

The lack of inventory and high demand has supported increasing prices for the second half of the year. As of December, the benchmark price was $434,700, nearly two per cent above last years’ levels. Despite the recent gains, 2020 benchmark prices remain over one per cent below last years’ levels. 

However, this could be due to steeper price declines for semi, row and apartment style product.

Sale activity remains strong in November

City of Calgary, December 1, 2020 –

For the sixth month in a row, sales in the Calgary market recorded a year-over-year gain.

Sales growth over the past several months has been the strongest seen in the past five years, but the activity has not been strong enough to offset the pullbacks from the spring. Year-to-date sales remain over three per cent lower than last year’s levels.

New listings continue to slow, reducing inventory in the market. On a year-to-date basis, new listings have eased by nearly ten per cent and are at the lowest level recorded since 2001. This has reduced the oversupply that has been impacting the market for nearly five years.

“The gains in sales in the latter part of this year have been a bit surprising considering the job losses and unemployment rate in our city,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“However, it is important to note that the shift to more balanced conditions has been mostly driven by the reduction of supply.”

Tighter conditions in the housing market have contributed to some of the recent gains in benchmark prices. As of November, the benchmark price was $423,600. This is nearly two per cent higher than last year’s levels.

However, conditions vary depending on price range. There is not a lot of supply for affordable homes in each product type because of high demand. This is likely causing differing price trends in the lower end of the market versus the higher end.

HOUSING MARKET FACTS 

Detached

November sales activity improved across every district, contributing to a year-over-year citywide increase of 26 per cent. Improving sales over the past six months have helped offset some of the pullbacks from earlier in the year, as year-to-date sales were only two per cent lower than last year’s levels.

Like other sectors, inventory in the detached market has also eased due to the sharp decline in new listings. This has kept the months of supply below three months for the past three months. The tighter market conditions are supporting price gains. As of November, the detached benchmark price improved by nearly three per cent compared to last year for a total of $492,000. However, prices did not improve across all districts, as the City Centre continues to record prices that are one per cent lower than last year’s levels.

Activity for this product type does vary significantly depending on location and price range. The pullback in new listings relative to sales has caused significant reductions in inventory for homes priced below $500,000. Higher price ranges have also seen some declining inventory, but the degree of decline has not been as significant. In fact, the market is exhibiting sellers’ market conditions for homes priced below $500,000, while still favouring the buyer for homes priced above $700,000.

Semi-Detached

Year-over-year gains in sales were met with slower new listings, resulting in inventory reductions and a month of supply of three months. While conditions are not as tight in the semi-detached market as they are in the detached market, the reductions in supply relative to demand were enough to support further monthly gains in the benchmark price.

As of November, the benchmark price was $395,100, which is one per cent higher than last year’s levels. Activity did vary depending on location, as price gains were the highest in the South East district, while prices remained just below last year’s levels in the City Centre.

There have also been notable differences within this market depending on price range. The months of supply has declined significantly for product priced below $400,000. This decline is likely contributing to some of the differing price trends throughout the districts of the city.

Row

Year-over-year gains in the row sector continued in November and were enough to cause year-to-date sales to remain at levels similar to last year. Bucking the trend from other sectors, new listings rose compared to last year, easing some of the downward pressure on inventory levels. The months of supply stayed above four months, higher than levels seen in both the detached and semi-detached sectors, but a significant improvement from the nearly six months of supply recorded last November.

Row prices also showed signs of stabilizing, as November prices remained comparable to last year’s levels. Despite some of the monthly gains, on a year-to-date basis, prices remain nearly two per cent lower than last year’s levels and have eased across all districts except the City Centre, West and East.

Apartment Condominium

Following seven months of year-over-year declines, apartment condo sales improved over last year’s levels. However, last November was an exceptionally weak month for apartment sales. Year-to-date apartment sales totalled 2,209, a 13 per cent decline from last year and nearly 30 per cent lower than longer-term averages.

New listings did ease slightly this month, placing some downward pressure on inventory that was missing earlier in the year. However, inventory remains higher than last year’s levels and the months of supply is still elevated at nearly eight months. The oversupply in this market continues to place downward pressure on prices, which not only eased relative to last month, but remain one per cent lower than last year’s prices. The only district to see some positive momentum is the North, where prices rose slightly compared to last year.

REGIONAL MARKET FACTS

Airdrie

Sales continue to record strong gains in November as year-to-date sales reached 1,318, a 15 per cent increase over last year. The rise in sales was also met with a pullback in new listings. This iscausing further declines in inventory levels and is keeping the months of supply just over two months. This is the tightest months of supply figure recorded for November since 2014 where the months of supply was below two months. 

Persistently low months of supply, especially in the detached sector of the market continue to place upward pressure on prices. In November, the benchmark price was $342,900, trending up over last month and over two per cent above last year’s levels. 

Cochrane

For the sixth consecutive month, sales activity rose over last year’s levels causing year-to-date sales to total 651. This is a 12 per cent increase over last year. However, unlike other areas the level of new listings in Cochrane also rose. The months of supply rose to nearly four months. However, this is still relatively low for November as the town has typically averaged seven months over the past five years.

With generally tighter market conditions in the town, prices have trended up for the past six months. As of November, the benchmark price was $417,800 and is four per cent higher than last year. Despite the recent gains, year-to-date figures remain nearly one per cent below last year’s levels.

Okotoks

Despite the decline in new listings, sales continued to improve causing further inventory declines. Inventory in November dropped to 95 units and is nearly half the levels we typically see this time of year. With a sale to new listings ratio above 100 per cent and a months of supply of just over two months, this is one of the tightest Novembers recorded since 2014. 

The general tightness in the market has been driven by the detached sector and is the only category that has seen year-over-year gains in prices. As of November, the detached benchmark price was $441,100, nearly two per cent higher than last November.

CREB®’s Q3 2020 Housing Report Released

City of Calgary, October 22, 2020 –

CREB®‘s Q3 2020 Housing Report released

Third-quarter activity was far better than original expectations, as sales activity in the city improved by nearly 12 per cent over last year’s levels. 

Some of the shift in the third quarter reflects activity that likely would have occurred in the second quarter. The housing market also benefited from easing lending rates and previous price declines. Gains were driven by all property types except apartment condominiums. 

“As the economy started to re-open, we saw some improvements in the economic indicators,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. 

“Most industries are not back to pre-pandemic levels, but over the past three months we have seen notable improvement across most industries.” 

The gains this quarter did not offset all of the earlier declines, but the year-to-date decline eased to nine per cent. This is a significant improvement from the first half of the year, where sales were sitting 20 per cent below last year’s levels. 

New listings were also on the rise. It was enough to cause inventories to trend up from the lower levels recorded earlier in the year, but inventories remain well below the levels recorded last year. 

Overall, the months of supply did tighten to levels well below the past two years. Improved supply/demand balances did support some modest improvements in prices, which trended up in the third quarter compared to the second quarter and remained only one per cent below last year’s levels.

Current conditions in the housing market are surprising, but there are several reasons to still be cautious: 

  • The current job market: Unemployment levels remain exceptionally high and there is added concern regarding additional job losses coming in the energy sector. If this situation persists, it could result in weaker demand and rising listings.

  • A second wave of COVID-19 and further shutdowns: Widespread closures are currently not expected, but if they do occur, this could be problematic for many businesses that cannot survive a second shutdown.

  • Government support: The housing market and overall economy has benefited from significant government income support programs, and banks allowing homeowners to defer their mortgage. As these benefits end, there is a risk that some households will not be able to keep their home, causing a rise in new listings and pushing up supply levels. If this occurs, it could erode some of the recent gains in pricing.

Home sales rise along with supply

City of Calgary, October 1, 2020 –

September sales activity jumped to 1,702 units, the strongest September total since 2014. 

New listings in September improved over last month, but levels remained comparable to the previous year. The increase in sales relative to new listings did prevent any monthly gains in inventory levels, but supply in the market is still down 12 per cent compared to last year.

“The recent rise in new listings, combined with low lending rates and softness in prices, has helped support some of the recent upward trend in sales,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. 

“However, conditions vary significantly based on the price range and property type.”

The adjustment in supply relative to demand has caused the housing market to move toward more balanced conditions. The current 3.7 months of supply represents the most balanced conditions seen for September in over five years. This has helped support some of the recent monthly gains in prices. 

Total residential benchmark prices have trended up over the past three months, resulting in September prices that are similar to prices recorded at the same time last year.   

Despite some of the recent improvements, the impact of COVID-19 is still present. Year-to-date sales remain nearly nine per cent below last year’s levels, while city-wide prices are still over one per cent lower than last year. Considerable risk also weighs on the housing market due to economic uncertainty and a struggling labour market.

HOUSING MARKET FACTS

Detached

With significant gains in the $400,000 – $600,000 range, September sales are the highest they have been since 2014. 

Improving sales and easing new listings resulted in further reductions in inventory levels and caused the months of supply to ease to balanced territory. Recent improvements in the supply/demand balance have supported some upward price movements. As of September, the benchmark price was nearly one per cent higher than last year. 

However, the year-over-year gains have been driven by the more affordable end of the market, as prices remain well below last year’s levels in both the City Centre and West districts of the city.

Semi-Detached

Given some recent monthly gains in new listings, sales in this sector improved in September, but at a slower pace than both the detached and row sectors. This could be related to the significant pullback in inventory. 

September inventory levels were nearly 21 per cent lower than last year, the largest percentage decline in inventory among all property types. This shift in supply, along with improving sales, has started to help reduce the oversupply in this sector and ease the downward pressure on prices. 

September prices remain nearly two per cent lower than last year’s levels, but prices have started to improve in the South, South East and East districts of the city.

Row

Sales in this sector have continued to trend up for the past several months and September sales were significantly higher than last year’s levels. 

While it was not enough to offset the pullback that occurred during the COVID-19 shutdown, row sales activity is four per cent lower than last year’s levels. The growth in sales could be related to the significant price adjustment that has occurred in this sector. 

Prices in this sector have eased by seven per cent compared to last year and remain nearly 17 per cent below previous highs.

Apartment Condominium

All other sectors have seen some recent year-over-year gains in sales, but this sector continues to trend in the other direction. Year-to-date sales declined by 16 per cent, the largest decline among all property types. 

At the same time, new listings continue to rise, which is causing further inventory gains. This is keeping the months of supply above seven months. 

There have been some districts showing signs of price stabilization, but overall, year-to-date prices have eased by more than two per cent, amounting to a total adjustment from 2014 highs of over 18 per cent.


REGIONAL MARKET FACTS

Airdrie

For the fourth consecutive month, year-over-year sales improved. As a result, year-to-date sales for the city total 1,055 units, a nine per cent increase over the previous year. 

While new listings did rise this month, the improvement in sales outpaced the gains in new listings, preventing any significant shift in monthly inventory levels.  However, inventory levels are over 20 per cent lower than last year’s levels. And the months of supply has fallen to levels not seen since 2015. While prices remain below previous highs, tighter market conditions over the past four months have supported several months of price growth and September price levels are nearly one per cent higher than last year. These price gains were enough to cause year-to-date levels to stabilize relative to last year. 

Cochrane

A reduction in new listings limited sales growth in September compared to August. However, September sales remain higher than last year and contributed to a year-to-date gain of nearly nine per cent. 

Rising sales and easing inventories have kept the months of supply below four months, the lowest level seen since 2014. Tighter market conditions have supported an upward trend in prices over the past three months. The recent price gains did translate to year-over-year gains in September, but were not enough to offset earlier pullbacks, as year-to-date prices remain nearly two per cent lower than last year’s levels.

Okotoks

September sales continued to improve from the low levels recorded earlier in the year and levels recorded last September. 

However, recent improvements were not enough to offset earlier pullbacks. Sales remain three per cent lower than last year’s levels, but this could be related to reduced inventory in the market. 

Reductions in supply relative to demand have caused the months of supply to decline to three months. The tighter market conditions have caused prices to trend up over the past four months. However, both September and year-to-date prices remain lower than previous year’s levels.

August home sales consistent, but..

August home sales consistent, but COVID-19 impacts continue

City of Calgary, September 1, 2020 –

Total residential sales in August were relatively stable compared to last year with year-over-year gains in the detached and row sectors. 

These gains offset declines in the apartment and semi-detached products.  

With 1,573 sales in August, this is consistent with levels over the past five years. Year-to-date sales activity remains nearly 13 per cent below last year. 

“Recent national reports have shown a bounce back to new record levels over the past several months. Calgary has seen improvements over the lows recorded during the lockdowns but is far from record levels,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. 

“The situation in Calgary has been slightly different as the job losses were not isolated to sectors that are typically associated with rental demand. We have started to see improvements in the job market compared to previous months as some jobs start to return.” 

However, the impact of COVID-19 on the economy is not over.

“There have been more than 100,000 jobs lost since last year and Calgary’s unemployment rate sits at 15 per cent. This is well above the national average of 11 per cent,” said Lurie.

New listings are easing and is helping to chip away at existing inventory compared to the higher levels recorded last year. However, the pace of year-over-year decline has eased as inventory levels have trended up relative to levels recorded a few months ago. 

The months of supply has also risen compared to the past few months and now sits at four months. This gain has slowed some of the monthly gains on prices. The residential benchmark price in August was $420,800 and is nearly one per cent lower than last years’ levels.

Are we back to normal?

Covid-19 has changed us. It has changed the business of buying and selling real estate. At the beginning of the pandemic, while most people were rolling up their carpets and closing their businesses, real estate agents were rolling up their sleeves and providing an essential service to their clients. This left the Calgary Real Estate Board needing to change the rules of practice to ensure safety for all. For example, how is a highly infectious global virus going to be handled when people come to view a home, when an offer is submitted, or when a buyer wants to see a house?

Protocols were put in place quickly. Covid-19 questionnaires were completed, hold harmless agreements were signed. Open houses ceased to exist. No more could we travel in a car with a client. Financial transactions became electronic. Virtual tours were advised over private showings.

The first time I heard of Covid-19 was earlier in the year. My husband and I were in Victoria celebrating our wedding anniversary. A few days prior to our arrival, the first Covid-19 case appeared in BC. We weren’t alarmed, we didn’t fearfully hunker down in our hotel room. We had no idea of what the virus was to become, so we enjoyed Victoria’s pubs and restaurants, unknowingly breathing in droplets and touching surfaces. We enjoyed our time there, marking the start of the year with a pandemic. Not all anniversaries can be that memorable.

We returned home where, instead of working on my database of amazing clients, I found myself engrossed with the news of the day. I think if an entire continent had slid into the ocean and disappeared, it wouldn’t have had as much coverage as Covid-19 did. I was entranced with every story, changing channels as quickly as doctors changed their opinions on masks. I’d blurt out (to myself), “Not a total lockdown! How will people afford to eat? What will they eat? Why does a respiratory illness give you diarrhea?” Things like that. Endless panels of experts zoomed in from all over the world, talking about what they didn’t know while claiming to know everything, I was sure the only way back to reality was less TV and more aerobic activity.

Meanwhile, I showed houses. My buyers felt the timing was good for them. One couple said, “Maybe we’ll find a deal. After all, who in their right mind sells a home during a pandemic?” Turns out, quite a few. Part of the seller’s logic could have been – selling now is better than later, prices will likely come down. It may very well have been the perfect storm, but instead sales plummeted for those few months.

Then in June the province started a relaunch recovery plan. I must state the obvious to those that are excited about this news, listen up…the virus is still here. Yes, you may still end up on a ventilator while the rest of Calgary is open for business. We are relaunched and yet I’m wearing a mask in an empty mall instead of lipstick, and being sprayed with alcohol instead of wearing my perfume. I am a little concerned about getting this virus. If I feel feverish or have a sore throat I run to the medicine cabinet to fetch the thermometer. Often, I can be found in the fridge smelling peanut butter just to make sure I haven’t lost my sense of smell. If I cough at night, it’s either Whooping Cough or Covid-19. Either way, I’m smelling peanut butter.

We started to see real estate sales go back up in June. Prior to this, sellers were glued to Global News waiting to see if they should just torch their houses and head for the hills. We surprisingly have seen some homes go to multiple offers, some selling above their list price. Even now sales are fairly good, even with challenges still facing the people of our city. Things have the appearance of going back to normal, when in fact I believe this is the new abnormal. I think it’s more realistic, particularly during a pandemic to keep expectations low and hopes high. Covid-19 will do what viruses do, it will take over a host cell, multiply and make people sick. It does this without conscience or restraint. The virus jumps from one person to the next, even as we all so diligently try to avoid each other. I like to call this the new warm and fuzzy.

I bought a greeting card awhile ago and kept it for the right moment. That moment has arrived. It shows a little girl looking up at her mother, “Mommy, what’s normal?” The mother answers her, “It’s a setting on the dryer, dear.” I think that’s about as close to normal as we’re going to get.




Housing market second quarterly report

Housing market second quarterly report released

City of Calgary, July 27, 2020 –

The second quarter of 2020 marked the first full quarter since COVID-19 began to weigh on the economy. 

Calgary housing sales slowed by 35 per cent compared to the previous year. This is better than original expectations, thanks to June figures that were far stronger than initial estimates. The pullback in new listings in the second quarter caused inventories to trend down, preventing a more significant decline in prices. 

The second quarter benchmark price trended down compared to the first quarter and eased by 2.3 per cent compared to last year, just slightly above initial forecasted levels. 

“Unquestionably, COVID-19 will continue to impact the housing market over the next several quarters. However, the extent of the impact may not be as severe as estimates from three months ago,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. 

“While the situation may look brighter than it did a few months ago, it is also important to note that challenges remain.”

Overall, we continue to expect citywide benchmark home prices to ease by nearly three per cent this year and sales activity will remain weak compared to the already low levels recorded last year. 

Despite the wide range of expectations on home prices, we do not expect a stronger price decline in 2020 for a couple reasons: 

  • Adjustment in supply. Demand has fallen, but so have new listings and inventory levels. This is preventing significant gains in the months of supply and slowing the downward price pressure.
  • Support provided by lenders and government is expected to cushion the blow from COVID-19, preventing a more significant price drop this year.

As we move into the second half of this year and into 2021, there remains significant downside risk. If jobs do not return as anticipated and the support from lenders and government ends, we could start to see a rise in supply relative to demand. This may cause stronger price declines in the market entering 2021.