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The Bank of Canada announced today that it is keeping its key rate unchanged, noting that the global economy appears to be stabilizing with growth expected to edge higher in the coming years, although uncertainty relating to ongoing trade conflicts continues to be a risk. A resilient Canadian economy, with investment spending stronger than expected, has allowed the Bank to hold rates while many other countries have eased. Going forward the Bank’s rate decisions will be guided by negative impacts of trade conflicts against our sources of economic strength, which are consumer spending and housing.
The next rate-setting day is Wednesday, January 22nd.
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Sales activity increase led by lower-priced homes
City of Calgary, September 3, 2019 – Increased sales and easing new listings reduced housing inventories in August. Sales were primarily driven by homes priced below $500,000.
“Employment numbers have been improving, but mostly in industries that are traditionally lower paid,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “This is contributing to the shift that we are seeing in the housing market, with growth being limited to product priced below $500,000.”
Rising sales for homes priced under $500,000 offset sales declines in the higher price ranges. This caused August sales to improve by six per cent compared to last year.
Sales activity improved for all product types. The growth was largest for apartment-style and attached properties.
Attached sales increased for the sixth consecutive month compared to the previous year. This is also the only property type with year-to-date sales higher than last year’s levels.
New listings continued to ease this month, which caused inventory to decline. This is helping the market shift toward more balanced conditions.
The amount of downward pressure on prices is also easing. At $426,000, the unadjusted citywide benchmark price this month remained comparable to last month, but 2.6 per cent lower than last year’s levels.
Despite improving sales and reductions in inventory, housing market recovery will take time. Inventory levels remain elevated and sales activity is still well below historical norms. The market continues to favour the buyer, with over four months of supply.
HOUSING MARKET FACTS
- Year-to-date detached sales remain just below last year’s levels, but sales improved in the South and North West districts this month.
- Citywide growth has been driven by homes priced under $500,000. Meanwhile, easing sales and elevated inventories among homes priced above $500,000 have increased the months of supply, pushing it further into buyers’ market territory.
- Benchmark prices in August ranged from a year-over-year decline of over five per cent in the South district to a decline of nearly one per cent in the South East.
- For the second month in a row, sales activity improved for apartment-style homes, but these gains were met with a rise in new listings. This prevented any significant adjustments to inventory levels and kept the months of supply elevated.
- Sales activity remains just below last year’s levels. On average, the amount of inventory in the market this year has eased compared to last year.
- Citywide benchmark prices in August eased compared to last year, but the East, South East and North East districts recorded modest gains. Despite those gains, prices remain well below 2014 highs.
- For the sixth consecutive month, year-over-year attached sales improved in the city. This has resulted in year-to-date sales of 2,665 units, nearly a five per cent increase compared to the previous year. At the same time, new listings continue to ease, causing further reductions in inventory.
- The months of supply have moved from over six months at this time last year to under five months in August.
- These improvements have supported some monthly gains in benchmark prices, but August benchmark prices remain 2.6 per cent below last year’s levels.
REGIONAL MARKET FACTS
- Despite a year-over-year decline in sales activity this month, year-to-date sales sit just above last year’s levels. Unlike Calgary, most of the growth here has been driven by gains in the detached sector. Year-to-date new listings have eased by 13 per cent and inventories have edged down relative to last year.
- A general trend toward more balanced conditions has eased downward pressure on prices. The benchmark price was $334,600 in August – 1.8 per cent below last year’s levels.
- Fuelled by reductions in new listings and stable sales, inventories continue to trend down. This has supported some easing in the months of supply, which dropped from nearly eight months in August of last year to five months this year.
- Reductions in oversupply have supported more stability in monthly prices. The benchmark price was $408,000 in August, nearly four per cent below last year’s levels.
- Improving sales in August contributed to year-to date sales of 373 units, slightly higher than last year’s levels, but still below long-term averages. The number of new listings continues to ease. This is causing inventories to decline and reducing the months of supply.
- Months of supply dropped from nearly 10 months last year to under five months this August. Despite this reduction in oversupply, benchmark prices so far this year have remained over four per cent below last year’s levels.
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Retirees are competing with young families for the right to summer in cottage country, according to a new report.
In Ontario, the battle is especially intense thanks to low inventory levels, which pushed prices for a single-family home up 7.2 per cent to $393,253 this spring compared to the previous year, according to a new report by Royal Le Page Thursday.
“With the youngest baby boomers a decade away from retirement, and their older peers well on their way, we are seeing robust demand for cottage, cabin and chalet-style retirement properties,” said Phil Soper, chief executive officer of Royal LePage in a press release.
But sales fell in the province 7.9 per cent primarily due to the low housing stock.
“In Muskoka, we are seeing people in their 50s and 60s cashing out with significant amounts of money, as well as those who are coming into money and want to get out of the rat race,” said Bob Clarke, sales representative, Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka.
The real estate brokerage expects prices in the province’s recreational regions to rise a further 8 per cent over the next twelve months to $424,905, despite fears of flooding and wet weather.
The landscape is different at the other end of the country in British Columbia where prices were virtually flat and sales fell 22.5 per cent compared to the previous year.
The downturn in the province’s residential market has spilled over to the recreational market, while lacklustre economic activity in its key source markets of Alberta and Saskatchewan also contributed to the slowdown.
“While sales are down, buyers from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Vancouver are still active in the Okanagan region,” stated Mark Walker, sales representative, Royal LePage Kelowna. “Despite a slowdown in the Alberta economy, there are some positives that help offset the challenges we see.
Alberta saw a price increase of 10.2 per cent, mostly due to an 11.4 per cent increase in the Canmore region.
Recreational property regions in the Prairies decreased in both price and sales, with 6.3 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively. Royal LePage cites the region’s softer economy as the primary driver for this downturn.
Overall, recreational property prices in Canada have grown 5 per cent by spring compared to the previous year, to an average price of $411,471.
However, every province except Quebec saw a decrease in sales, where spring flooding did little to dent sales activity rising 6.3 per cent during the period. Royal LePage attributes the increase to the province’s low unemployment rate, which sat below 5 per cent for the first time since 1976.
“We are also noticing a surge of buyers between the ages of 40 and 60 looking to enjoy the cottage lifestyle and spend more time with the family,” said Dominic St-Pierre, vice president and general manager, Royal LePage, for the Quebec region.
Atlantic Canada and particularly Halifax remain cheapest, with a 5.9 per cent price increase and an aggregate price of 257,965. The real estate agency predicts only a 0.7 per cent price increase next year.
Adil Dinani, real estate advisor at LePage, sees changing interest rates as potential catalysts for the market.
“Oxygen for any real estate market is low interest rates. They generally boost consumer confidence,” said Dinani. “And people are more likely to get into the market if they have the financial capacity to do so.”
He also predicts a shortage of buyers in the higher end of the market, typically homes over $2 million, while the lower and middle ends of the recreational market will stabilize.
To conduct the study, Royal LePage polled 48 realtors and brokers specialized in recreational homes, who in turn collected data such as median prices and unit sales for their respective regions.
-Calgary Herald/ Nicholas Sokic
The City of Calgary released updated profiles of communities across the city on Thursday, using data gained from the 2016 federal census. The data represents the most up-to-date statistics available that can be used to characterize the population of Calgary’s 200 residential communities and 14 wards.
Postmedia analyzed and broke down some of the highlights:
Calgary’s population in 2016 was 1,222,390. Ward 11, which encompasses communities such as Acadia, Lakeview and Mission, held the highest population in the city when broken down by ward, with 98,785 residents. It was followed closely by Ward 4, home to Beddington Heights, Brentwood, Dalhousie and other northwest communities, where 98,495 people listed their home address that year. The area with the fewest residents was Ward 7, home to the downtown and East Village, Sunnyside, Tuxedo Park and the University District, with a population of 65,070.
Calgary’s most affluent region was Ward 6 — home to southwest communities including Springbank, Glamorgan and Coach Hill — where the median household income before taxes was $124,453 in 2015, the year before the collection of the data. Not far behind was Ward 14, which encompasses areas such as Chaparral, Deer Ridge, Lake Bonavista and Midnapore. The deep southeast ward had a median household income of $121,359, compared to the city’s overall median figure of $97,329. Ward 9, which includes Forest Lawn, Inglewood and Ramsay, had the lowest reported income, at $71,740.
In 2016, nearly 35,200 people living in private households across Calgary identified as Aboriginal. First Nations populations accounted for 15,500 people, followed by Metis at 18,480 and Inuk at 355 (365 people identified with multiple Aboriginal identities). More than 1,100 people cited a knowledge of at least one Aboriginal language, with Blackfoot and Cree being the most common.
Wards 5 and 10, both in the northeast, had the highest proportion of people who identify as visible minorities compared to the overall population of each region. More than 80 per cent of those in Ward 5, encompassing areas such as Falconridge, Martindale and Saddle Ridge, identified as a visible minority. In Ward 10, which includes Abbeydale, Marlborough, Mayland Heights and Rundle, the tally was 58 per cent of the population. About 36 per cent of those in Calgary as a whole identified as visible minorities, with the most common ethnicities being South Asian, Chinese and Filipino.
More than 89,600 immigrants moved to Calgary between 2011 and 2016. For immigrants who reside in the city, Asia was the most common region from which newcomers emigrate, with 226,330 people across Calgary. The Philippines, India and China account for 34 per cent of the city’s immigrant population when it comes to country of origin. There were also 46,260 refugees across the city.
Ward 5 had the biggest population that spoke neither English nor French, with 5,845 people, or seven per cent of the area’s inhabitants. The northeast ward also had more than 51,000 people who spoke a different language at home most often, with Punjabi, Urdu and Filipino leading the way. There were more than 90,000 French speakers across the city as of 2016, including 1,200 who spoke French only. With more than 10,000 French speakers, southwest Ward 8, encompassing Sunalta, Mount Royal and Killarney, had the highest population with the ability to speak both of Canada’s official languages.
Of more than 996,000 people 15 or older, more than 60 per cent of the population said they own a post-secondary degree, certificate or diploma (one-third of Calgarians achieved that at the bachelor level or above from a university), while about one-quarter of the population held only a high school diploma. Wards 7 and 8 were the most educated regions in Calgary, both with 71 per cent of their respective populations who listed a post-secondary degree, certificate or diploma as their highest academic achievement.
Nearly three-quarters of Calgarians 15 and older were in the labour force — either working or actively looking for work — as of 2016, with an unemployment rate of 10 per cent across the city. Ward 12, in the deep southeast, and Ward 8 each registered the lowest unemployment rates by section of the city, at eight per cent.
By and large, Calgary remains a driving city. More than three-quarters of the population said they get to work everyday by way of a vehicle, such as a car, truck or van, including 71 per cent who are in the driver’s seat themselves. Just 16 per cent, or about 96,500 people, get to work by taking a bus or CTrain, while five per cent walk and two per cent said they ride their bike. Ward 13, in the deep southwest, had the highest percentage of people who use public transit to get to work, at one-fifth of the population. More than 40 per cent of Calgarians said their commute to work takes anywhere from 15 minutes to about half an hour, while 34 per cent said it takes half an hour to an hour to arrive at work.
In Calgary, 29 per cent of the population said they rented a home in 2016, compared with 71 per cent who owned the property where they lived. Owners indicated they spent nearly $1,600 per month on housing, while renters spent more than $1,300 each month. Ward 2, a northwest area home to communities such as Arbour Lake, Citadel and the Hamptons, had the highest proportion of homeowners, at 89 per cent, compared to renters. By contrast, 56 per cent of those living in the inner-city Ward 8 were renters, the highest percentage in the city. Ward 7 was an even split between renters and owners. Just over one-fifth of Calgarians said they spent more than 30 per cent of their household income on housing in 2016.
-Calgary Herald/ Sammy Hudes