Challenging economic conditions continue to impact the resale market

City of Calgary, December 3, 2018 –

Sitting below long-term averages, November sales in the city totaled 1,171 units.

For the year so far, sales activity has totaled 15,349 units, a 14 per cent decline over last year and nearly 20 per cent below long-term averages.

“Recent challenges in the energy sector have weighed on consumer confidence over the past month. Combined with weakness in the employment market and further gains in lending rates, this is impacting ownership demand,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

New listings eased by seven per cent in November compared to last year. The adjustment in new listings has helped prevent further inventory gains, with 6,501 units in overall inventory, but levels remain well above the 5,683 units in inventory seen last year and 32 per cent higher than typical levels for November.

“Higher inventories and weaker sales are resulting in buyer’s market conditions and price declines,” said Lurie.

The citywide benchmark price was $422,600 in November, nearly one per cent lower than last month and over three per cent below last year’s levels.

Year-to-date sales have slowed across all price ranges, except product priced below $200,000, which now represents nearly six per cent of all sales. The largest decline in sales has occurred in the $600,000 – $999,9999 range.

“In any market, affordable product is always desirable,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.

“For buyers, it may mean being able to step into a home that was previously unattainable. It also means that sellers need to be keenly aware what is successfully selling in their neighbourhood and surrounding communities.”

 

HOUSING MARKET FACTS

Detached
  • Detached sales declined across all districts in November. With citywide sales of 679 units, activity remains 21 per cent below typical levels for the month.
  • New listings eased by three per cent compared to last year, due to declines mostly in the North East, North and South East districts. Year-to-date new listings this year have increased in all areas except the North East and East districts.
  • Inventories in the detached sector totaled 3,491 units, 26 per cent higher than last year’s levels. Months of supply sits at five months, well above the three-month typical for November.
  • Detached benchmark prices totaled $486,000 in November, a one per cent decline over last month and a three per cent decline over last year. This is nearly seven per cent below monthly highs recorded in October 2014.
  • Prices have eased across all districts in November. On a year-to-date basis, the largest declines this year have occurred in the North East and North districts. This is likely due to the increased competition from the new-home sector. The districts that remain furthest from price recovery are the North West and South districts.
Apartment
  • Despite year-over-year gains in sales in November, citywide apartment sales have totaled 2,557 units so far this year. This is five per cent lower than last year and 21 per cent below long-term averages.
  • The majority of activity in condos is located within the city centre, representing nearly 48 per cent of all the sales activity.
  • Following years of oversupply, the number of new listings in the apartment sector continues to ease, helping prevent further significant gains in inventories and even contributing to inventory reductions in the South, East and North East districts.
  • Despite some adjustments in inventories, most areas continue to struggle with oversupply, causing further price declines. Price declines this year have ranged from a high of nearly six per cent in the East district to a low of two per cent in both the City Centre and North West districts.
Attached
  • Year-to-date attached sales totaled 3,344 units, a 16 per cent decline over the previous year and 14 per cent below long-term averages. Sales activity eased across most districts except for the North East, where sales remained relatively stable because of improvements in row activity.
  • Overall, rising new listings continue to place upward pressure on inventory levels and the gains have mostly occurred with semi-detached product.
  • Oversupply conditions have weighed on prices. In November, the semi-detached benchmark price totaled $400,700. This is a monthly and year-over year decline of 0.67 and 3.3 per cent, respectively. Recent price declines have caused this sector to erase any of the gains that occurred last year, as year-to-date prices remain comparable to 2017 levels.
  • Row prices have also been edging down, but at a slower pace than semi-detached product. As of November, row prices were $292,900, a 0.2 per cent decline from last month and just over three per cent below last year’s levels. Overall, year-to-date prices remain nearly two per cent below last year’s levels and nearly 10 per cent below previous highs.
Oversupplied market weighs on prices

Oversupplied market weighs on prices

City of Calgary, November 1, 2018 – Elevated inventory levels compared to sales, are causing prices to ease further in Calgary’s housing market.

Citywide benchmark prices totaled $426,300 in October, trending down for the fifth consecutive month and resulting in a year-over-year decline of 2.9 per cent.

“Job growth in this city remains a concern, as unemployment levels remain well above levels expected for this year. Rising costs of ownership also continue to weigh on housing demand,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“At the same time, housing supply levels are not adjusting fast enough to current conditions, resulting in price adjustments.”

Inventories and sales totaled 7,345 and 1,322 in October. This has resulted in months of supply of 5.6, above levels typical for this month. While some easing in new listing growth will help prevent further inventory gains, inventory levels remain near record highs for the month of October.

“With these types of market conditions, many potential buyers should be able to find the home that they are looking for with well priced listings appearing in certain price ranges,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott. “Sellers need to manage expectations and have accurate data in order to be aware of what is selling in their community.”

For each of the property types, sales activity has improved in the lower price ranges, leaving most of those segments relatively balanced. However, the upper end of the ranges has seen significant gains in supply compared to demand, which is likely having more of an impact on prices in those ranges.

 

HOUSING MARKET FACTS

Detached
  • Detached sales in October totaled 829 units, for an 8.6-per-cent decline, resulting in a year-to-date decline of 15 per cent. This is the slowest level of detached sales since the late ’90s. 
  • Year-to-date, the largest decline in sales occurred in the $600,000 – $999,999 price range, reflecting slow demand coming from move-up buyers.
  • For the second month in a row, new-listing growth eased, helping prevent further inventory gains. However, as this segment remains oversupplied, prices continue to trend down. 
  • Detached benchmark prices totaled $490,200 in October. This is below last month and three per cent below last year. On a year-to-date basis, prices remain one per cent below last year’s levels.
  • As of October, year-over-year prices have eased across all districts, with the largest declines occurring in the North East, North West, South and South East districts. This is likely a result of added competition from the new-home sector. 
Apartment
  • Year-to-date apartment sales have totaled 2,316 units, nearly seven per cent below last year. New listings have also eased by six per cent, helping reduce the amount of inventory in the market.
  • Despite the easing inventories, the months of supply remains elevated at 7 months. 
  • Year-to-date apartment condominium prices have eased by 2.8 per cent and remain 14 per cent below 2014 highs. Declines occurred across all districts, with the steepest declines occurring in the North East, East and South districts.
Attached
  • The attached sector has recorded year-to-date sales of 3,098. This is 15 per cent below last year and 14 per cent below long-term averages. 
  • Meanwhile, despite recent easing in new listings, October inventories are the highest level on record.
  • The oversupply is affecting both the semi-detached and row sectors, which have seen prices trend down over the past 5 months.
  • Year-to-date, row benchmark prices have averaged $298,140 this year, nearly two per cent below last year and nine per cent below previous highs. However, prices have remained relatively flat in both the City Centre and North West districts.
  • As of October, semi-detached prices were $403,400, one per cent lower than last month and nearly three per cent lower than last year. Despite recent declines, year-to-date citywide prices remain relatively flat compared to last year. This was most due to gains in the City Centre, North East and East districts offsetting declines in the North West, South and South East.

REGIONAL MARKET FACTS

Airdrie
  • Airdrie’s housing market continues to experience declining sales and increasing inventory compared to last year. Elevated supply levels have led to downward pressures on the benchmark prices for detached homes. 
  • Total year-to-date residential sales have reached 1,032 units, 11 percent below levels last year. Year-to-date, new listings have remained relatively stable, but remain well above long-term averages. 
  • Year-to-date average inventory levels are 19 per cent higher than. As a result, months of supply have been elevated, and presently stand at six months. This has translated to sustained pressure on benchmark price, with the year-to-date value of detached homes now sitting at $370,880, which is a year-over-year decline of nearly two percent. 
Cochrane
  • Year-to-date, residential sales have declined by 10 per cent, with 530 sales so far in 2018. These levels are comparable to similar periods in the past few years and higher than long-term averages. 
  • At 1,164 units, new listings have reached a historical peak for this period and well above long-term averages. Inventory levels in Cochrane for 2018 have been persistently elevated and are almost 17 per cent higher than the same period last year.
  • This has started to place some downward pressure on prices. However, year-to-date detached benchmark prices have remained relatively stable compared to last year with a benchmark price of $424,900. 
Okotoks
  • Year-to-date residential sales have declined to 428 units in 2018, comparable to levels from 2011 and well below long-term averages. 
  • New listings are elevated at 936 units, which is eight per cent higher than last year’s levels and close to long-term averages. Inventory levels in October remain elevated with 232 units.   
  • Despite gains in the amount of supply compared to sales, Okotoks detached prices have seen some modest gains.  Year-to-date benchmark prices for detached properties totaled $436,660, 1.25 per cent higher than last year. 
October Calgary Market Statistics

Status quo for Calgary’s housing market

Prices remain similar to last year in Calgary, but ease in October

October’s housing market conditions closely echoed previous month’s trends with easing sales, rising inventories and downward price pressure. Like last month, the monthly activity was not enough to derail gains that occurred earlier in the year.

October sales and inventories in Calgary totaled 1,467 and 6,463 units for a month of supply of 4.4. Several months of elevated supply in comparison to demand has weighed on pricing over the past several months. The city-wide unadjusted benchmark price in October totaled $438,900, 0.6 per cent below last month, but comparable to last year.

“While economic activity has improved in 2017, it will take some time for this to translate into housing market growth. There have been employment gains, but most of this has occurred in areas with traditionally lower income,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“We also continue to face weak migration, higher lending rates and changes to lending policy. The combination of these factors is impacting housing demand, which is prolonging the pace of recovery.”

Resale inventory gains occurred in each product type and across most districts in the city. The largest gains were in districts with substantial new development growth.

In the detached segment, the largest number of units added to inventory occurred in the $300,000 – $500,000 price range. This represents nearly 42 per cent of all detached inventory. 62 per cent of the inventory in the city-wide market is priced below $500,000.

“There is far more product availability in the lower price ranges now compared to several years ago,” said CREB® president David P. Brown.

“This provides more options for potential buyers concerned about their purchasing power given all the changes in the lending market.”

The largest monthly price change occurred in the apartment condominium sector which recorded an unadjusted monthly decline of 0.8 per cent, resulting in a 13 per cent spread over monthly highs recorded in 2014.

Despite some recent adjustments, prices in the attached and detached segments remain relatively stable compared to last year.

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Calgary September Market Update

The BIG Picture

Inventory increases and sales drop in September, but overall sales for the year remain higher than last year.

Strong gains in the first-half of 2017 has put the Calgary year-to-date sales at seven per cent above last years’ levels and 11 per cent below long-term averages, but challenges remain with easing sales and rising new listings in September.

Inventories rose across all property types to 6,861 units, while both apartment and attached-style properties saw the highest inventory on record for the month of September.

“The recent rise in inventories is preventing further price recovery as sales activity has moderated over recent months. This does not come as a surprise as sales activity is expected to remain modest by historical standards until more substantial economic improvements take hold,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Some may consider this a setback, but it is important to note that recent movements are balancing out the higher than expected gains that occurred in the first-half of the year.”

New listings in September totaled 3,266 units, a year-over-year gain of nearly 10 per cent.

“There are several factors influencing new listings. Given the falling prices over the past two years, some sellers were waiting for market conditions to improve prior to listing their homes. More stability in the market has prompted many of those sellers to no longer delay their listing decision,” said CREB® president David P. Brown.

“In some segments, rising new home inventories are also impacting total housing supply. Ultimately, prices are affected. However, this inventory also opens up opportunity for buyers to step up into a home that was financially unattainable.”

As of September, unadjusted benchmark prices totaled $441,500. This is 0.2 per cent below last month, but nearly one per cent above last year. Downward price pressure this month occurred across most product types. However, year-to-date benchmark prices in the detached sector remain comparable to last year.

Prices in the detached sector remain relatively stable compared to last year. Condominium apartment prices remain four per cent below 2016 levels and twelve per cent below 2014 highs. This sector continues to struggle with price declines resulting from excess supply as months of supply pushed above eight months.

 

Housing recovery a balancing act

Growth in new listings outpaced sales preventing inventory declines 

Sales posted a modest gain in August, but a rise in new listings kept inventory levels elevated.

Inventories totaled 6,624 units, where over half were comprised of attached and apartment style properties. While inventories were 16 per cent higher than August 2016 levels, the slight rise in sales prevented further gains in the months-of-supply, which remain just above four months.

“Employment growth is contributing to the stability in sales activity, but it is not enough to meet the recent rise in listings and make a substantial dent in inventory levels,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Unemployment rates remain elevated and job growth is mostly occurring outside the energy sector, slowing the recovery process. Broader economic improvements will be required prior to it translating into substantial improvements in the housing market.”

The second month of higher inventories compared to sales weighed on prices for the month. The unadjusted city wide benchmark price totaled $442,300 in August. This is 0.3 percent below last month, but remains nearly one per cent above last year’s levels. Overall total residential prices remain four per cent below peak levels.

“Buyers have several options in this market, and sellers need to continue to be realistic regarding the price they expect to receive for their home,” said CREB® president David P. Brown.

“While some of the buyers are re-entering the market, they are also considering all of their options prior to making a commitment.”

The pace of growth in detached sales has closely matched new listings this year. However, inventory levels continue to remain at 3,280 and months of supply pushed up to 3.32. Recent gains in months-of-supply prevented further gains in prices this month. Detached prices totaled $510,900 in August. This is slightly lower than last year, but 1.5 per cent above last year’s levels.

With over seven months-of-supply, the excess supply continues to weigh heavily on the apartment condominium sector. As of August, the benchmark price totaled $263,300. This is one per cent below last month and three per cent below last year’s levels. Downward price pressure in this sector is expected as supply levels remain elevated in the new, resale and rental market.

Mid-Year market update shows stability

CREB® forecasts a process of recovery for the remainder of 2017

The first-half of 2017 marked a shift in Alberta’s economy from recession to recovery, with conditions supporting stability rather than expansion.

“Economic challenges continue to exist, as high unemployment rates, weak migration levels and more stringent lending conditions are weighing on the housing market,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“This will continue to cause some adjustments in the housing market for the remainder of this year. However, this is not expected to offset earlier gains supporting general stability in 2017.”

Resale sales activity is expected to total 18,401 units in 2017, a 3.3 per cent improvement over last year. The pace of growth is slightly faster than originally anticipated, due to the stronger growth that occurred in the first half of the year.

“We saw many of those consumers who delayed any purchasing decisions willing to re-enter the market as concerns regarding the economy eased,” said CREB® president David P. Brown.

“More potential buyers on the market helped move some of the product in inventory and started to create some price stability.”

Improvements in the supply demand balance, primarily in the detached and attached sector, caused prices to start to trend up. Demand growth through the remainder of the year is expected to ease relative to inventory levels. This should prevent further substantial shifts in pricing. Overall, annual city wide prices are expected to remain at levels comparable to last year.

Despite generally improving trends, difficulties continue to exist in the condo-apartment ownership market. Rising sales cannot keep pace with the growth in new listings, keeping supply levels high and placing continued downward pressure on prices. This area of the housing market will likely continue to face challenges well into next year, as it will take time to absorb additional inventory in the resale, new and rental markets.

“Improvements in the labour market are supporting the shift in the housing market this year. However, activity over the past two years was amongst the weakest we have seen since the financial crisis,” said Lurie.

“While the shift is welcome news for many, we continue to expect that process of recovery will be slow and dependent on the property type and location within the market.”

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Housing recovery remains a work-in-progress

Market sees modest inventory gains, but overall prices inch up

Sales exhibited stable growth through the first half of the year in the Calgary housing market, but the number of transactions slowed slightly in July compared to last year.

City-wide sales totaled 1,637 units, six per cent below July 2016 levels. Year-to-date sales activity totaled 11,957 units, nine per cent above last year.

“Sales growth exceeded expectations so far this year. Clients were re-entering the market after delaying decisions until there were some signs of economic improvement,” said CREB®president David P. Brown.

“However, this recovery will require patience. There continues to be many new and resale ownership options available. This reduces the sense of the urgency for many consumers.”

Easing sales were met with higher new listings, causing further gains in inventory levels. City-wide months of supply rose to four months, as inventory levels reached 6,675 units this month. This is 17 per cent higher than last year, but still below July highs recorded in 2008.

“Modest improvements in the labour market and net migration were necessary to support the turnaround in the housing market,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“However, current inventory levels and changes in the lending market continue to weigh on housing demand.  Easing demand growth combined with elevated levels of supply will slow the pace of price recovery in our market.”

Driven by detached and attached housing sales, city-wide prices in July improved over the previous month and the previous year. However, it is nearly four per cent below previous monthly highs. Year-to-date benchmark averages remain 0.44 per cent below last year’s levels.

Despite the current month activity, the detached sector continues to demonstrate conditions that are more balanced compared to last year.

Apartment condominium product continues to face oversupply in the resale and new home sector, causing further price declines. In July, the apartment benchmark price was $266,200. This is a three per cent decline over last year and nearly 12 per cent below peak prices.

For a full analysis of the Calgary housing market in 2017, please refer to CREB®‘s 2017 mid-year update to be released in mid-August.

June spells a gradual recovery

Stable prices in detached sector signal balanced conditions despite increased inventory

Calgary’s housing market in June saw a modest improvement in sales along with an increase in new listings.

However, demand gains have not kept pace with the amount of new listings coming onto the market. This caused inventory levels to increase to 6,659 units, which is 11 per cent higher than last year’s levels.

Despite the recent shift in inventory this month, second quarter activity continues to demonstrate improved supply-demand balance and price stability. City wide benchmark prices totaled $441,500 in June. This is a 0.5 per cent gain over last month and nearly one per cent higher than last year.

“The supply gain this month will be monitored. However, on a quarterly basis, inventory levels remain comparable to last year, sales have improved and there have been modest price gains. All of this remains consistent with expectations of a gradual recovery,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

Year-to-date residential sales in Calgary totaled 10,322 units, which is 12 per cent above last year’s levels. New listings increased by three per cent over the same time period.

Overall, both the sales-to-new listings ratio and months of supply have trended down this year. This signals more stable pricing in the housing market this year.

“While there were many buyers waiting for lower prices to step into the housing market, there were also many sellers waiting until prices stabilized before listing their home,” said CREB® president David P. Brown.

“Some of this recent growth in listings will help provide more choice, particularly in the detached market where market conditions had significantly tightened over the past few months.”

Detached inventories and sales totaled 3,224 and 1,385 units, for a month of supply of 2.3 in June. Despite the recent rise in supply, over the first half of this year inventories have averaged 16 per cent below last year’s levels while sales are 13 per cent higher, keeping this segment in more balanced conditions.

While activity is also improving in the attached segment of the market, resale activity in the ownership of apartment-style product continues to face challenges with weak sales relative to listings and rising months of supply.

As of June, the unadjusted benchmark price for an apartment style product totaled $265,800. This is nearly four per cent below last year’s levels and 11 per cent below recent highs.

Housing market retains momentum in April

City-wide prices hold steady as labour market improves

Calgary’s housing market continued to show signs of stability in April. With improvements in the labour market and a balanced detached sector, city-wide benchmark prices reached $439,600 in April, similar to the previous month, but 0.90 per cent below last year’s levels.

“More jobs means less uncertainty for people who are sitting on the fence,” said CREB® president David P. Brown. “There also tends to be fewer people who need to sell when employment improves, and that can prevent inventory gains and further price reductions in the market. It’s a good scenario for sellers who are entering a spring market that’s in better shape than anything we’ve seen in recent years.”

While adjustments are still occurring in the apartment condominium sector, the detached segment of the market is improving across all price segments.

“Detached product has not faced the same supply pressure as the apartment sector,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “Detached supply from new construction didn’t surpass previous highs. That helped prevent steeper price adjustments in the detached sector when demand eased.”

The relationship between sales and inventory will be a key driver for pricing in the months ahead. Total transactions improved to 1,917 units in April, while inventories totaled 5,495 units, pushing months of supply below three for the second consecutive month.

With sales up and overall market inventory down, months of supply has already pulled back from elevated levels recorded over the past two years. While activity continues to vary by location and product type, more balanced conditions will help to support overall price stability.

“Improvements in the employment situation were necessary to prevent further declines in the housing sector,” said Lurie. “However, economic recovery is still expected to be slow, impacting the pace and quality of job growth. Based on current expectations this should translate into a more prolonged period of recovery in the housing market.”

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Housing market set for favourable lead into spring

Detached prices stabilize as city-wide inventory trends down

After a long period of disconnect between supply and demand, Calgary’s detached housing sector is firmly in balanced territory. Sales were still 10 per cent below long-term trends in March, but above levels seen in recent years, while average inventory declined compared to last year, supporting price stability in the detached market.

“It’s not so much that demand went through the roof in March, but that we had less supply come onto the market, which is really helping to balance things out,” said CREB® president David P. Brown. “These changes are lifting the cloud of uncertainty for housing consumers and nicely positioning our market as we move into the more active spring season.”

Unadjusted detached benchmark prices totaled $503,900 in March, 0.4 per cent above last month and similar to levels recorded last year. Meanwhile, Apartment and attached prices continue to remain well below levels recorded last year.

“Market conditions are quite different in the apartment sector,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “The additional supply coming from the new home sector is not easily reversed and the added competition is continuing to weigh on prices in the higher density sectors of the market.”

City-wide inventory levels totaled 5,114 in March, 16 per cent below last year’s levels. This is primarily driven by the 25 and 17 per cent contraction in the detached and attached markets. Inventory levels in the ownership apartment sector remain three per cent higher then levels recorded last year.

“The housing market transition in the first quarter appears to be consistent with trends in the labour market,” said Lurie. “However, the way the rest of the year unfolds will be largely determined by what happens in the next two quarters, as nearly 60 per cent of all housing sales typically occur in that time frame.”