Calgary housing sales up 5% over last year

Calgary’s housing market continues to gradually strengthen, with sales for July and the year-until-now up over last year.

Sales of single-family homes and condos neared 12,000 for the first seven months of 2011, a five per cent increase over 2010, but still 17 per cent below the 10-year average, the Calgary Real Estate Board reported Tuesday.

“I would underline the improvement is gradual and measured,” CREB president Sano Stante said. “We’re getting a good balance of listings and buyers. We’re not seeing too many buyers and no listings or too many listings and no buyers.”

“It’s more of a healthy recovery.”

For Jen Hosie, who will be moving into first home next month with husband Danny, the foray into the real estate market was smooth.

“It was very, very fast,” she said of a process that ended with the possession of a three-bedroom home in New Brighton. “I looked at 15 houses in one day and by the end of the day picked one I loved.”

After her husband had checked it out and also approved, they stopped looking.

“There were lots and lots to choose from,” she said of the housing selection. “And tons within our price range.”

The Hosies spent less than the average price of a single family home in July, which was just over $455,000.

Condo sales averaged just over $286,000.

Stante said prices remained relatively consistent with where they were last year, but he cautioned that some sellers, viewing the market a little too optimistically, were pricing their homes too high.

“Stuff that’s priced accordingly sells relatively quickly. There seems to be a good bit of product that’s not priced according to the current market that seems to be sitting,” he said.

Cody Battershill, with Re/Max House of Real Estate, said last month was his busiest July in about three years.

“It’s the craziest July I’ve had in years, even though in summer things slow down,” he said. “I think there’s optimism in the business community, in job growth.

“I think more people are buying, but the listing still has to be priced well to sell.”

According to the real estate board numbers, there were 11,798 sales in the first seven months of the year, up five per cent over the same period in 2010. If single-family homes are broken out, they rose eight per cent, while condo sales dropped by three per cent.

While the July numbers jumped over last year — condo sales were 14 per cent higher — Stante cautioned that last year was very slow for that month, as well as June.

He also pointed out that listings so far this year are lower than last year, leading to smaller inventories. That has dropped the condo inventory from a more than six-month supply last year just above four months this year.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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