Calgary, Dec. 2, 2013 – City residential sales totaled 1,730 units in November, a 19 per cent increase in sales volume over the previous year. Following another month of strong activity, year-to-date sales totaled 22,322 units, 11 per cent higher than long-term trends. CREB® President Becky Walters said it appears that several factors are motivating buyers.
“Many first-time homebuyers appear to be moving now to get ahead of any further increases in home prices, rent hikes, or an increase in lending rates,” she said. “And current owners are taking advantage of the recent price gains to upgrade to a home that better fits their lifestyle.”
There were 1,823 new listings in the city in November. While this is an 12 per cent increase over levels recorded at the same time in 2012, listings remain below long-term trends and total inventory levels is lower than normal for this time of year.
“Tight market conditions have resulted in higher-than-expected price gains in all sectors of the Calgary market,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, Chief Economist. “However, these increases need to be put into context.”
Citywide, only the price of single-family homes has fully recovered and started to push above unadjusted levels recorded in 2007. Meanwhile, condominium apartment and townhouse prices remain below peak, Lurie said.
Single-family benchmark prices totaled $470,600 in November, 8.5 per cent higher than one year ago. Meanwhile, condominium apartment and townhouse unadjusted benchmark prices totaled a respective $279,600 and $305,700 in November, 6 per cent below 2007 peak pricing.
Year-to-date, single-family sales totalled 15,533 units, eight per cent higher than the previous year. The higher-than-expected rise in sales activity is due to stronger activity in the second half of the year.
Tightness in the condominium apartment market eased in November, as the year-over-year growth in November new listings of 23 per cent outpaced the sales growth of 20 per cent. While overall inventory levels remain 26 per cent lower than levels recorded in 2012, this is an improvement over the declines recorded throughout recent months. Year-to-date sales activity totaled 3,787 units, a 15 per cent increase over the previous year.
Condominium townhouse sales totaled 3,002 units after 11 months, a 21 per cent increase over the previous year. While this sector remains the smallest out of the Calgary housing types, it has recorded the largest gains in sales.
“Overall, sales growth in surrounding communities outpaced the city,” said Walters. “They offer the family friendly attractions of small towns, and they’re more affordable.”
Lurie noted the vibrant employment market has encouraged a large number of net migrants into the city over the past two years.
“This, combined with tight rental conditions and optimism over the long term outlook of the city, has supported the significant growth in housing demand this year.
Lurie said that concerns over affordability are often linked to potential house price corrections, but, “despite recent gains, Calgary’s housing market is still more affordable today than it was six years ago.”