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.
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