Calgary’s booming housing market is pushing average prices to record levels as single-family home sales so far this year are averaging well above half a million dollars.
“The residential real estate market is holding strong for sellers,” said Grace Yan, a Calgary realtor with RE/MAX Real Estate (Central).
“It usually slows down for Christmas season but we are realizing that it remains at a steady rise. We are still finding a shortage of listings, lots of activity with shorter days on the market. We are finding from fixer uppers, inner-city properties to turnkey luxury high-end homes in demand. We anticipate the steady market to continue to heat up for the new year.”
As of Thursday, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board, the average MLS sale price for all residential property in the city so far this year has been $457,123. The annual record is $428,649 set last year. In 2004, average sale prices in the city were $227,269.
So far this year, the average MLS sale price for a single-family home is $517,598. The annual record price of $481,259 was set last year. In 2004, the average was $251,558.
On Friday the Canadian Real Estate Association released its latest MLS data for October showing that Calgary had the best year-over-year gain in the country in the MLS Home Price Index.
CREA said prices in Calgary, for homes tracked by the index, rose by 8.17 per cent from last year while the national average of 11 markets surveyed was up by 3.52 per cent.
Scott Bollinger, broker with the ComFree Commonsense Network, said there was a little softness in the market last year because of the introduction of tighter mortgage rules.
“But the Calgary numbers we’re seeing today show this is the strongest and healthiest housing market since the 2006 boom,” he said. “That said, this isn’t the boom — and that’s a good thing. 2006 was marked by some things we’re not seeing today — a massive inventory crunch, irrational exuberance and confidence that the market would stay strong indefinitely, and almost unthinkable economic growth. We saw six and seven per cent growth in 2006.
“Our economy today is growing at a nice, measured, healthy rate — three, three-and-a-half per cent. So we’re still seeing confidence, but it’s not the same extreme. There’s a collective memory in this city of the boom, so I think this strength we’re seeing is more sustainable. Houses are still selling quicker, but they’re nowhere near the frenzied pace we saw in 2006, when the average time on market dipped to 20 days.”
In October, Calgary had 2,510 MLS sales, up 19.3 per cent from last year. Alberta registered 5,588 sales, up 16.1 per cent, and Canada had 39,039 MLS sales for an annual hike of 8.3 per cent.
Average sale prices in October and their year-over-year increase were: Calgary, $436,216, 4.2 per cent; Alberta, $377,084, 3.8 per cent; and Canada, $391,820, 8.5 per cent.
Calgary’s real estate market is showing no signs of slowing down in November. Month-to-date including Thursday, there have been 830 MLS sales in the city, up 34.30 per cent from the same period a year ago, according to CREB. The average sale price has also climbed by 7.47 per cent to $463,126.
Doug Porter, chief economist with BMO Capital Markets, said there are two notable splits developing in Canada’ housing market – larger cities are hot, while smaller cities are generally not, and sales in the West are strong, but are weakening in much of the East.
“When judged by total sales volumes, a measure that combines both price changes and the number of units sold, the hottest markets this year are Calgary, Edmonton, and, against all expectations, Vancouver,” he said. “All three have reported double-digit volume increases, the only cities in that category.”
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