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.

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 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.”

January market improves over last year!

For the fourth consecutive month, housing inventory levels have recorded year-over-year declines. At 4,112 total units, January’s inventory was 18 per cent below last year’s levels.

“While housing conditions continue to favour buyers, a slow transition toward more balanced conditions is helping to ease downward pressure on home prices,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “Conditions have improved over last year, but people need to remember that last year’s market was one of the weakest on record. Despite the appearance of a major shift in activity, the transition in the housing market is going to be a slow process.”

January sales totaled 947 units, 24 per cent above last year, but 21 per cent below 10-year averages for the month. Sales activity improved across all product types, but only when compared to the near record lows that occurred in January 2016.

The detached segment of the market is demonstrating the most improvement. Sales activity totalled 584 units in January, a considerable improvement over the 466 sales recorded last year. Inventories have also declined pushing the months of supply to 3.2 months well below the 5.4 months recorded in January 2016.

“This past month showed how the market never stands still,” said CREB® president David P. Brown. “The market isn’t expected to be as unpredictable in 2017, but it’s early in the year and there are still lots of unknowns that will shape decision-making for consumers.”

“Every transaction is a personal decision and anyone going through the process of buying and selling real estate will be trying to make the best decision for their family. They need to consider their long-term objectives and think about the price they are willing to accept or pay for a home.”

City-wide benchmark prices totaled $437,400, 0.16 per cent lower than last month and 2.82 per cent lower than last year’s levels. Since recent highs in 2014, residential prices have declined from a low of 4.9 per cent in the detached sector to highs of 11.5 per cent in the apartment condominium market.

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October Calgary Market Statistics

Home sales rebound in October

For the first time in two years, sales activity in October resembled normal levels. City-wide sales totaled 1,644 units, which is an increase of nearly 16 per cent over last year.

“The shift in sales activity this month is likely related to the new mortgage rule changes, inventory gains in the lower price ranges and further price adjustments,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “The combination of all these factors may have encouraged some purchases to take advantage of the market conditions, particularly in the lower price ranges. However, with several factors at play, the monthly shift in demand may be temporary and will need to be monitored over the next several months.”

Sales activity rose across all product types in comparison to last year, but the largest gain in sales occurred in the detached sector at 18 per cent. There was a noticeable shift in sales activity by price range in October. In the detached market, homes priced between $300,000 and $400,000 saw the largest improvement in sales, while attached and apartment sales growth was mainly occurring in the lower price ranges.

“This year has been a challenge for many sellers,” said CREB® president Cliff Stevenson. “So when we have a rise in sales, it means more buyers got into the market and more sellers got out, which is a positive for consumers on both sides of the transaction.”

“Sales activity changed direction in October, but we need to see some consistency next month and the month after to call it a trend,” adds Stevenson. “For now it’s a nice building block.”

Despite the monthly rise, year-to-date sales activity in all sectors remained lower than last year’s levels and well below longer term trends. In fact, year-to-date sales activity has totaled 15,642 units, which is 6.3 per cent below last year’s levels.

While increased activity in the lower price ranges had a greater impact on the average and median price, benchmark prices once again edged down in October. The city-wide unadjusted benchmark price totaled $438,900, or 0.34 per cent below last month and four per cent below last year’s levels.

Since the start of the downturn, home prices have declined from a low of 3.8 per cent in the detached market to a high of 9.4 per cent in the apartment condominium sector. And, despite the rise in October sales, monthly prices continued to decline for most product types in the market.

Five Things About Population Impact On Housing

Weak net migration expected to impact Calgary’s housing market

Population growth in Calgary will moderate moving forward and contribute to a decline in housing demand, according to a market brief issued earlier this month by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).

In the release, the national housing agency noted net migration is expected to remain relatively weak over the next two years, which will have a trickle-down effect on the local real estate market.

CREB®Now breaks down five things you need to know about how population will impact housing demand in Calgary this year and next.

The History

Calgary’s population outpaced the national average for the 10 years preceding 2015. From 2006 to 2015, the city’s population increased an average of 2.81 per cent per year, compared with 1.12 nationally. CMHC credited the growth to favourable economic conditions, which attracted prospective workers to the region. This also boosted demand for housing, with total starts and MLS® sales both reaching record highs in 2014.

The More Recent

Calgary’s population growth started to level off in 2015, when the rate of newcomers to the city grew at 2.44 per cent, down from 3.55 a year earlier. CMHC attributed the moderation to weak oil prices that ultimately impacted investments in the energy industry – and, thus, employment prospects in the city.

The Employment Picture

While 2015 might have looked and felt like 2008, it will be considerably different moving forward. CMHC said economic recovery will be more gradual this time around, resulting in job losses – especially in full-time positions. In the first quarter of 2016, the city’s unemployment rate increased to 8.96 per cent compared to 5.67 in the same period in 2015.

The Outcome

With fewer employment opportunities in Calgary, along with stronger labour market conditions in other areas of the country, CMHC said net migration to the city will decline and remain relatively low. Net migration is projected to decline from 21,057 in 2015 to 14,000 in 2016, and then rebound slightly to 14,500 in 2017. This will limit Calgary’s population growth and temper housing demand.

The Outlook

Following several years of elevated growth, Calgary’s population will rise only 1.91 in 2016 and 1.81 per cent in 2017, said CMHC. This will bring the population in Calgary to 1,466,500 and 1,493,400 in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

“Total population in Calgary is forecast to grow at its slowest rate since 2010, largely due to a decline in net migration, and contribute to weaker demand for housing,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for CMHC’s Prairie region.

 

CREBNow By: Jamie Zachary

Sellers Continue to Adjust Pricing Expectations

Market imbalance in Calgary’s residential resale housing market continued to weigh on citywide prices in April.

Much like the previous month, year-over-year sales fell while new listings increased, resulting in inventory gains across all sectors of the market.

As a result, benchmark prices in the city declined by 0.4 per cent from last month, and 3.4 per cent from last year, to $441,000.

For sellers, the reality of seven consecutive months of price declines has started to sink in, said CREB® president Cliff Stevenson.

“From re-considering the listing of their home to lowering expectations on price, sellers are beginning to adjust to the current market reality,” he said. “However, some buyers in the market are still not willing to pull the trigger because they expect even bigger discounts. And so that gap between buyers’ and sellers’ expectations still persists across many product types and locations.”

Despite this, the detached sector fared better relative to the other sectors of the market. While detached sales activity has fallen by over four per cent so far in 2016 compared to last year, the sales to new listings ratio improved in April. This prevented sharper inventory gains and caused months of supply to move toward more balanced levels.

The same cannot be said of other market sectors. Year-to-date apartment and attached sales declined by a respective 19 and 13 per cent compared to last year. Slower sales, combined with rising inventories, ensured that market conditions continued to favour buyers in these segments.

“While the weak economic climate is influencing demand, the apartment and attached sectors are further impacted by increased supply in the competing new home sector and rental markets,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “This is one of the contributing factors to the steeper price declines recorded in the apartment sector.”

Since the start of the price declines, monthly unadjusted benchmark apartment prices have declined by 7.6 per cent, while semi, row and detached have declined by a respective 5.9, 4.6 and 4.1 per cent.