|Housing sales are forecasted to ease by four per cent this year, due to market uncertainty and changes in economic climate, while prices are expected to remain relatively stable with a modest increase of 1.58 per cent on an annual basis, CREB® said today in its annual forecast.
Although sales levels are expected to ease, previously tight conditions throughout 2014 indicate that rising supply would push the market into more balanced conditions, supporting price stability in 2015. However, CREB® warns there are multiple risk factors attached to this forecast, which estimates a total of 24,503 homes will be sold in the city this year.
“The housing risks lie mainly with employment levels and net migration, both of which can be more severely impacted by a prolonged period of weakness in the energy sector,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “There is also the impact that energy prices have on consumer confidence. If energy prices stay low throughout the year, concern regarding job stability could cause consumers to delay unnecessary changes regarding housing.”
The report notes that while sales activity is expected to ease in 2015, it remains consistent with long-term levels. By comparison, sales in 2014 were nearly 15 per cent higher than the long-term trends for the city.
“The economic situation is far better today than what is was in 2009, where the fallout of the financial crises resulted in a U.S. recession, weakness in energy sectors, a pullback in investment and ultimately job losses in Calgary,” said Lurie. “With economic indicators remaining more positive in this period, the pullback in housing is not expected to mirror activity during the 2009-2010 period.”
CREB®’s forecast also notes that housing activity can vary significantly depending on location, price range and property type. For example, in 2014, there were less detached homes within city limits available in the lower price ranges. This caused many consumers who were looking for lower priced product to move to the attached and apartment sectors within city limits as well as other surrounding areas. Many consumers turned to the larger surrounding areas of Airdrie, Cochrane, Okotkoks and Chestermere, which all recorded record levels of sales in 2014.
“With more supply in the market expected this year, buyers will likely have more alternatives in all price ranges,” said 2015 CREB® president Corinne Lyall. “It’s a nice scenario for buyers, but it also means that sellers will likely have to adjust their price expectations and be realistic about the amount of time their home will be on the market.”
“A REALTOR® can help navigate market conditions and real estate options, which are always unique to each consumer,” said Lyall. “While challenges in the market can raise concerns for buyers and sellers, it really comes down to their personal situation and knowing what’s right for them. Real estate is truly local.”