Calgary home price growth best in Canada – Typical price jumps 7.72% from last year

Home prices in Calgary grew at the fastest year-over-year pace in Canada in March, according to a report released Monday by the Canadian Real Estate Association.

The association, in its MLS Home Price Index, said Calgary’s resale market saw growth of 7.72 per cent in its benchmark price.

Nationally, of seven Canadian centres surveyed regularly in the index, price growth was only 2.20 per cent from last year.

In March, CREA said MLS sales in Canada of 39,527 fell by 15.3 per cent compared with a year ago while in Calgary the drop was only 0.6 per cent to 2,631 transactions.

New listings in Canada were down 8.5 per cent to 81,677 and they were off by 6.7 per cent in Calgary to 4,225.

The average sale price in Calgary grew by 7.7 per cent to $441,424 while in Canada it was up 2.5 per cent to $378,532.

In Alberta, sales dropped by 2.9 per cent to 5,605, new listings were off by 9.0 per cent to 9,781 and the average sale price was up 6.5 per cent to $386,330.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

New home prices on the rise in Calgary region – Second highest rate of growth in Canada

The Calgary region had the second highest rate of year-over-year growth in new home prices in February, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal agency reported Thursday that the New Housing Price Index was up 4.3 per cent on an annual basis in the Calgary census metropolitan area.

The highest rate of annual growth was in Winnipeg at 5.5 per cent.

Nationally, the index rose by 2.1 per cent.

On a monthly basis, the NHPI in the Calgary CMA increased by 1.0 per cent while it was up 0.2 per cent across the country.

“Calgary was the top contributor to the advance in February, up 1.0 per cent from January. This was the largest month-over-month increase in that region since May 2007. Builders indicated that increases in material and labour costs were the main reasons for higher prices,” said the federal agency.

Annual prices in Calgary have been accelerating for the past five months, it said.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Disneyland Contest
Get your entry in today! No obligation to purchase.
As part of our preliminary draws in our “Ultimate Family Vacation Contest” we will be drawing for 10 visit family pass (2 adults and 2 children) to the Tricor Centre TOMORROW.

After tomorrow our next draws are:
April 26th – Family pass (4 people) to the Calgary Zo0
May 10th – $100 gift certificate to Montana’s restaurant
May 24th – Family pass (4 people) to the Telus Spark Science Centre
June 7th – $100 gift certiicate to Cineplex Odeon

What happened to the expected Alberta real estate boom? – Market influencers tempering demand

Several ‘market influencers’ have kept the reins on the expected Alberta real estate boom, says a new report on the housing market.

The report, by Don Campbell, senior analyst and founding partner of the Real Estate Investment Network, said debate is raging about why the market isn’t booming like it did in 2006 and 2007 when the job market and population in the province were growing at the same rates as they are today.

“The real difference this time is hidden in the strong forces of today’s market influencers. It is very true that the market drivers are all in place to support a large growth in housing purchase demand and price increases, in fact it is a textbook market for a boom,” said Campbell.

“In Alberta, the GDP and job growth have driven very strong population growth which has led to low vacancy rates not experienced in this province for many years. Street rents are jumping due to the rental supply/demand inequality. So, on the surface that means Alberta should be experiencing another one of those unsustainable booms. Well why isn’t it? And is there one still in the works?”

He said certain wild cards can throw a market off its prescribed cycle for periods of time.

“So, despite all of the market drivers being in place to push the Alberta real estate market into its next boom cycle the market continues to underperform its economics. Why? Simply, there are market influencers in play and that is why we are not yet seeing the expected rush into the market demand,” he said.

They include the once-bitten, twice-shy attitude equating into a local lack of confidence in the market. Many Albertans made their first home purchases during the previous boom. They were hit hard when the financial crash came. This has tempered enthusiasm for the market now.

Tighter mortgage qualification rules have also tempered market demand.

Overall consumer confidence in real estate is taking a hit with many recent reports and headlines on the state of the Canadian market saying it may be over-priced or overvalued.

A large portion of Alberta population growth is from two key demographics who are less likely to buy a house immediately — immigrants and ‘Echo-boomers’.

“The underlying economics and Market Drivers state that the market should be on fire, just like it was back in 2006 and 2007 – that is unless you begin to factor in these influencers,” said Campbell. “Let us make sure we are analyzing today’s markets with today’s conditions and not compare them to previous boom-bust cycles. Each cycle has its own influencers that either heat up or cool down a market and this current cycle from 2006 until today is the perfect proof of that.

“As long as the drivers are strong, the market is structurally strong, no matter what the influencers are doing. The concern should arise when the drivers are weak and the influencers are pushing the market upwards with no support. That is not what is happening in Alberta right now; in fact, the drivers remain strong despite the headlines.”

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Alberta first-time homebuyers expect to spend $406,000 – Highest in Canada, ahead of B.C. and Ontario

First-time buyers in Alberta expect to spend $406,000 on a home, the highest average in the country, according to a report released Tuesday by BMO.

The First-Time Home Buyer’s report said the average amount Canadians planning to buy their first home in the next five years plan to spend is approximately $300,000, with an average down payment amount of $48,000 (16 per cent).

First-time buyers in B.C. expect to spend on average $384,000 and it was $326,000 in Ontario.

The report also found: on average, first-time home buyers expect to be mortgage free in 20 years, with 20 per cent estimating it will take between 10-19 years; those planning to enter the real estate market for the first time are twice as likely to choose a fixed rate over a variable rate mortgage (46 per cent versus 20 per cent); and first-timers who expect interest rates to stay the same or decrease over the next five years still prefer fixed rate over variable rate mortgages (39 per cent versus 23 per cent).

“Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions one can make. It’s crucial that those planning to enter the market are well prepared — not only to manage their costs, but also to pay off their mortgage as soon as possible,” said Laura Parsons, Mortgage Expert, BMO Bank of Montreal. “Determining what your mortgage payments and overall costs of home ownership will look like, and then living in that financial reality for a year before entering the market, can be an effective strategy.”

According to the report, two-thirds of first-time buyers (66 per cent) say the latest changes to mortgage regulations — which included reducing the maximum amortization for government-insured mortgages to 25 years from 30 years — have not affected their buying timeline, while 19 per cent say they will have to wait longer before buying as a result.

The report also found: 63 per cent of first-time buyers have made cutbacks to their lifestyle to save for their first home, with 27 per cent expecting their parents or other family members to help them pay for their first home; 59 per cent have had to hold off buying their first home because of increasing housing prices; and 59 per cent wish they had bought their first home five years ago.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Calgary luxury home sales booming – MLS sales of properties over $1 million continue to rise

Calgary’s luxury home real estate market continues to climb as sales in the first quarter of this year are on an upward trend.

According to Mike Fotiou, associate broker of First Place Realty in Calgary, a total of 74 MLS properties sold for $1 million or more during the month of March, the highest March level ever recorded and the second highest overall, surpassed only by May 2012’s 80 sales.

“Unlike Calgary’s overall housing market which posted a second straight month of negative sales growth year-over-year, activity at the high end of the market continues to – dare I say – boom,” writes Fotiou in a blog on his website.

The 74 sales in March consisted of 59 single-family homes and 15 condominiums. The condo market set a record, eclipsing the previous mark of seven in October 2007 and June 2011.

“To highlight how remarkable 15 high-end condo sales in a month is, in 2012 condos didn’t register their 15th sale until June 8th,” writes Fotiou.

Year-to-date, according to Fotiou, there have been 171 luxury home sales in the first quarter of this year between January and March, a 50 per cent hike from the 114 sold during the same period a year ago.

Fotiou says the first quarter of this year is by far the best in terms of first quarter sales activity in the luxury home market and the second highest quarter overall.

“Historically, (the second quarter) is usually the strongest so it will be interesting to see what the next three months has in store for Calgary’s high-end market,” adds Fotiou.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald