Calgary home sales, prices spike in February while inventory remains low, CREB says

The Calgary Real Estate Board said Monday that the market has faced low inventory levels compared to sales for the past several months, while prices continued to climb.

The board’s February numbers show that prices jumped by about 8 per cent to reach an average of $485,870, up from $446,690 the year prior.

CREB’s chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie attributed the spike to pandemic conditions.

“Despite continued COVID-19 restrictions, housing activity continues to improve. Much of the strong sales activity is expected to be driven by exceptionally low mortgage rates,” she said.

“Confidence is also likely improving as vaccine rollouts are underway. Additionally, some of the worst fears concerning the energy sector are easing with recent gains in energy prices.”

Sales totalled 1,836 last month, a more than 54 per cent increase over February 2020 and a volume not seen since February 2014.

New listings, however, didn’t keep up the pace. They amounted to 2,848, a 13 per cent increase from 2,517 the year before.

The gap between sales and new listings is doing little to help the market’s inventory woes, CREB said.

It estimated the area now has fewer than three months’ worth of homes on the market.

Conditions are particularly tight in the detached sector, especially for homes priced below $600,000, said CREB.

That portion of the market alone has less than two months of housing supply, but is also experiencing the most significant price gains.

Detached home sales in February amounted to 1,123, up from 678 the year prior, while prices edged up to $572,670 from $526,084 previously.

New listings for the category were up about 17 per cent, but inventory was down by almost 30 per cent.

At the other end of the housing spectrum, apartments and condos have a relatively high level of inventory compared to sales.

CREB said 272 apartments sold in February, up from 209 the February before.

Inventory in the category reached 1,433, a slight dip from 1,470 the year prior.

-Globe and Mail

Weekly Showing Report

The week over week showings have continued to climb across the Province. 

While we have not caught up to the showing activity of 2020, there is some speculation that restrictions to showings due to the current climate, and how fast new listings are selling are both contributing factors to fewer showings being available.

The activity on CIR Realty’s listings has climber 12% week over week, and is 49% higher than the same week in 2020.  With record amounts of new listings being brought on (and sold), the brokerages showing activity continues to do well.

With showing restrictions, and the pace of the market, there are some solid strategies to host “Live online open houses” prior to launching the listing to allow more people to see the home, which has the potential to increase more interest.

After all, the key to selling anything is to generate the highest amount of exposure possible, to create the largest amount of demand.

-Steve Phillips, CIR Realty

Weekly Showing Report

I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that the showing activity continues to climb week over week as the markets continue to heat up.

The showings across Alberta are actually slower than we experienced in 2020, but they are catching up rapidly! What certainly is not down year over year is the number of transactions, which, as of the 24th of February were up 73% for the month across the Province compared to the same time period last year.

For CIR Realty’s listings, we saw an increase of 7% week over week for showings which is 33% higher than the same week in 2020.

It is very important to understand that even with the increased activity, and the busier markets, pricing is still critical as the average list to sales price ratio through February is at 97.5%! Yes, there are multiple offers causing over list prices sales, but the majority are still seeing price negotiations. Pricing a home properly will have an impact on the time that it takes to sell, even in these busy markets.

This will begin to adjust if we continue to move into sellers markets, so each sector, and each area is critical to examine what is happening in that market, and how to properly price it for the activity occurring.

-Steve Phillips, CIR Realty

Sellers’ market in February leads to rising prices

With gains in every price range, residential sales activity in February totalled 1,836.

This reflects the best February since 2014.

“Despite continued COVID-19 restrictions, housing activity continues to improve. Much of the strong sales activity is expected to be driven by exceptionally low mortgage rates,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Confidence is also likely improving as vaccine rollouts are underway. Additionally, some of the worst fears concerning the energy sector are easing with recent gains in energy prices.”

New listings also improved in February, but the gap between new listings and sales narrowed. This is causing the sales-to-new-listings ratio to rise to 65 per cent, keeping the months of supply well below three months.

Conditions are far tighter in the detached sector of the market, especially for product priced below $600,000, where strong sellers’ market conditions are present with less than two months of supply.

The market has faced relatively low inventory levels compared to sales for the past several months and prices continue to trend up. In February, the residential benchmark price rose over the previous month and currently sits four per cent above last years’ levels. 

Detached product has the lowest months of supply and is also exhibiting the most significant gains in prices. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the apartment condominium segment still has a relatively high level of inventory compared to sales, which is impacting price recovery for this property type.

HOUSING MARKET FACTS

Detached

Detached sales improved across every price range this month, but the lack of choice in the lower price ranges likely placed limits on the gains in sales.

New listings did rise, but it was not enough to prevent further tightening in the market, as the sales-to-new-listings ratio rose to 71 per cent and the months of supply fell to under two months. This is the lowest months of supply recorded in February since 2007.

Tighter market conditions occurred across all price ranges, but properties priced below $600,000 saw the months of supply fall to just above one month. These conditions are supporting significant price gains in the detached sector, which recorded a February benchmark price of $502,500. This is nearly two per cent higher than last month and five per cent higher than last year. It is also the first time since 2018 detached prices have risen above $500,000, and currently sits under five per cent below previous highs recorded in 2014.

Prices increased compared to last month and last year in every district of the city. However, the magnitude of those increases varied, with the largest year-over-year gains occurring in the South East district at nine per cent, and the lowest gains occurring in the City Centre at under two per cent. 

Semi-Detached

Semi-detached sales in February recorded significant gains, pushing sales activity to the highest February levels seen in nearly 13 years. However, like the detached sector, the improvements in new listings were not enough to offset sales, ensuring this sector continues to favour the seller.

With lower levels of supply relative to sales, benchmark prices improved over both last year and last month. However, this was not consistent across all districts. The West district continues to see prices that remain over two per cent lower than last year’s levels. The strongest year-over-year price gains were reported in the South East and North districts.

Row

Despite a significant increase in new listings, improving sales offset the gains and the months of supply fell to three months.

Conditions for row properties are not as tight as what we have seen in both the detached and semi-detached sectors. However, they do reflect an improvement relative to the oversupplied conditions recorded last year. However, when considering activity by price range, pockets of oversupply persist in this market.

Citywide reductions in inventory relative to sales supported some price improvements in this segment. The benchmark price trended up from last month and currently sits just over one per cent higher than last year’s levels. Year-over-year gains did not occur across all districts, as prices remain lower than last year’s levels in the North, North West, South and South East districts.

Apartment Condominium

Driven by product priced mostly under $300,000, apartment condominium sales improved to best February levels recorded over the past six years.

However, the gain in sales was not enough to cause any significant changes in inventory levels. February inventory remained elevated compared to levels we typically see at this time of year.

While the months of supply has trended down in this sector, it remains above five months. This is preventing the same type of price recovery seen in other sectors. On a year-to-date basis, the benchmark price remains similar to levels recorded last year.

REGIONAL MARKET FACTS

Airdrie

February sales reached new record highs for the month.

The largest gain in sales occurred in the $400,000 – $500,000 price range. New listings also increased, but the sales-to-new listings ratio remained elevated at 71 per cent and the months of supply dropped to under two months in February. This is the tightest level seen since 2014.

Persistent sellers’ market conditions have resulted in further price gains in the market. The benchmark price has trended up for the past eight months and, as of February, it is over seven per cent higher than last year’s levels. Most of the price growth has been driven by the detached sector.

Cochrane

Cochrane sales more than doubled compared to last February. This represents the strongest February ever recorded for the town.

New listings also rose for the month, but it was not enough to cause any substantial change in inventory levels and the months of supply fell to below two months. This is the lowest months of supply for February seen since the record low in 2006.

Tight conditions supported price growth in February, as the benchmark price rose to $413,700, a four per cent increase from last year’s levels.

Okotoks

New listings have been trending up from the lows seen at the end of 2020, helping to support a significant improvement in sales in February. February sales reach levels not seen for the month since the record high in 2007. 

Inventory levels remain exceptionally low relative to sales and the months of supply dropped below two months. Like other towns around Calgary, the sellers’ market conditions caused prices to trend up. In February, the benchmark price reached $442,600, nearly five per cent higher than levels recorded last year.

-CREB

Weekly Showing Report

The showings for CIR Realty’s listings week over week have continued to climb. They have risen 20% week over week, which is up over 31% compared to the same week last year! The largest increase in activity has been in the price points below $500,000. Due to this we can anticipate the higher price points to see increased activity in the weeks to come.

With the inventory continuing to decline with the heightened sales activity, the markets continue to tighten, and are getting more competitive. While some markets are beginning to move into sellers markets, many remain in busy balanced territory. The signs to watch for are when we start seeing months of inventory drop below 2 months, prices increasing and days on markets lowering, then markets have shifted to the sellers territory.

Keep in mind that even with the multiple offers, and the back up offers occurring in the markets, it is still important to price properly as buyers recognise the over priced inventory, and it will sit on the market if not properly priced.

-Steve Phillips, CIR Realty

Weekly Showing Report

The showings for CIR Realty’s listings week over week have continued to climb. They have risen 20% week over week, which is up over 31% compared to the same week last year! The largest increase in activity has been in the price points below $500,000.  Due to this we can anticipate the higher price points to see increased activity in the weeks to come.

With the inventory continuing to decline with the heightened sales activity, the markets continue to tighten, and are getting more competitive. While some markets are beginning to move into sellers markets, many remain in busy balanced territory. The signs to watch for are when we start seeing months of inventory drop below 2 months, prices increasing and days on markets lowering, then markets have shifted to the sellers territory.

Keep in mind that even with the multiple offers, and the back up offers occurring in the markets, it is still important to price properly as buyers recognize the over priced inventory, and it will sit on the market if not properly priced.

-Steve Phillips, CIR Realty

January sales signal strong start to 2021

January sales were the highest they have been for the month since 2014, as housing market momentum from the end of 2020 carried over into the start of 2021.

Sales activity improved across all product types and across all price ranges.

“Discount lending rates are exceptionally low, which is likely attracting all types of buyers back into the market,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“New listings in the market were also slightly higher than what was available over the past two months, which is providing more options to purchasers.”

January’s new listings were 2,246 relative to the 1,208 sales in the market, causing inventories to edge up over December levels. These types of movements are typical for January, but 2021 is starting the year with 4,035 units in inventory. This is far lower than the past six years.

Benchmark prices remained at levels relatively consistent with prices recorded at the end of 2020, but they reflect a year-over-year gain just below two per cent.

Average and median prices recorded higher year-over-year gains, likely due to larger gains in sales in the higher end of the market. Those segments do not have the same inventory constraints as  lower-priced product.

HOUSING MARKET FACTS

Detached

January sales activity improved across most prices ranges. However, limited inventories for homes priced below $500,000 ensured conditions in those segments remained firmly in sellers’ market territory. This likely prevented stronger sales improvements in this portion of the market.

However, with better supply options at the upper end of the market, sales activity improved.

The citywide months of supply was just over two months, a significant drop from last January where levels were nearly five months. The tighter conditions in this segment supported further gains in prices, which currently sit nearly three per cent above last year’s levels.

Year-over-year price gains range significantly throughout the districts of the city. The largest gains occurred in the North and South East districts. Prices remained relatively unchanged over the previous year in the City Centre and West districts.

Semi-Detached

January sales activity rose over last year’s levels due to gains across most districts. The West end district continues to see slower activity than the previous year.

New listings improved from December levels. This is causing some monthly gains in inventories, but inventory remains well below levels seen last year and the months of supply remained below three months.

Price activity did vary depending on location. Year over year, prices remain over one per cent higher than last year’s levels thanks to strong gains in the North and South East districts. However, persistently high levels of inventory compared to sales contributed to the significant price decline occurring in the West district.

Row

Thanks to gains across nearly every district, sales activity improved compared to the previous year. Unlike the detached and semi-detached sectors, row new listings trended up relative to last month and levels recorded last year.

The rise did result in some monthly gains in inventory levels and caused the months of supply to rise to nearly five months. This is not entirely unusual activity for January. The months of supply remains well below last year’s levels at nearly seven months.

Citywide row pricing remained relatively stable compared to last year and last month. However, there was significant variation depending on location. Year-over-year price gains exceeded four per cent in the City Centre, West and East districts.  Meanwhile, prices eased by over three per cent in the North and South East districts.

Apartment Condominium

For the third month in a row, apartment condominium sales rose above levels recorded in the previous year. January levels are the best we have seen since 2014. While new listings have eased compared to last year, they recorded a significant jump over December levels, keeping inventories elevated relative to sales activity.

While prices remain well below previous highs, there were some districts that recorded year-over-year gains. The strongest gains occurred in the North East, East and South districts. However, prices continue to fall in the City Centre, West and South East districts.

REGIONAL MARKET FACTS

Airdrie

Sales activity stayed strong in January. With 103 sales, this was the best January since 2007. New listings improved compared to last month, resulting in some monthly gains in inventory levels. However, the months of supply has remained relatively tight.

With conditions continuing to favour the seller, benchmark prices trended up relative to last month. At $349,100, benchmark prices are over five per cent higher than levels recorded last January. The strongest year-over-year price gains occurred in the detached and semi-detached sectors.

Cochrane

Cochrane sales improved from last January’s levels, but we also saw a notable rise in new listings. This caused the sales-to-new-listings ratio to ease to 63 per cent.

This is a significant improvement over last month, which saw sales levels exceed the level of new listings in the market. Overall, conditions remain relatively tight, with the months of supply staying below three months.

Benchmark prices recorded year-over-year gains across all property types. Overall, benchmark prices remained over four per cent higher than last January’s levels.

Okotoks

After several months of relatively weak new listings, January saw some pickup in new listings relative to the last quarter of 2020.

Sales remained relatively consistent with last year’s levels, causing the months of supply to trend up to three months. This is higher than the extremely tight levels seen at the end of 2020, but it is still significantly lower than the six-plus months recorded in January of last year.

Benchmark prices remained stable compared to last month, but they are over three per cent higher than last January. The gains were driven by the detached sector, as prices continue to ease in the semi-detached, row and apartment sectors.

-CREB

High-wage employment up in 2020

Here is a great graph showing a reason why the real estate market is so strong despite the downward trend of the rest of the ecomony. ⬆️⬆️

$30/hr jobs are up almost 10% from the start of the pandemic. With low interest rates, this gives a great opportunity for these people to get into the housing market. The decline in low income jobs matters for many sectors, but this is having less of an impact on real estate.📈

-Lindsey Smith, CIR Realty

Weekly Showing Report

The start to the year has been a busy one with the sales activity across Alberta hitting levels that we have not seen in over a decade!  With an uptick of 43.6% compared to January 2020,  climbing to a total of 4,045 sales across the Province. This was experienced across all price ranges, from under $200,000 to over $1,000,000+.

Some of the hottest markets in the Province year over year for January were Canmore (+220%), Brooks (+66.7%), Red Deer (+43.5%), Calgary (+40.7%), and Airdrie (+39.2%). While other markets in Cochrane, Crowsnest, Lethbridge and Camrose all continue to outperform years past as well. The real surprise was in Fort Mcmurray where sales jumped but were primarily in the lower price ranges. The coolest markets for the month were Grande Prairie, Rocky Mountain House and Sundre but each of these markets had consistent numbers compared to years past in their areas..

With the unemployment rate dropping in Alberta to 10.7%, and disposable income savings continuing to remain strong at 14.6% through the last quarter of 2020, combined with low interest rates there is no signs of slowing down in the near future (pending any unpredictable World events).  With the first time home buyers markets doing well in most areas, it has opened up the markets in the price point above and the full property ladder is in effect in most area across the Province.

As always, there are many variations and conditions within each market that help determine what is happening in each “micro” market.  Understanding these variances are critical in proper pricing to achieve the best results for our clients.

CIR’s overall start to the year has been a busy one, in fact, the third busiest in company history!  Given that showings are up +59% over December, and +45% over January 2019’s showings, we don’t anticipate a slow down any time soon.
Calgary’s months of supply of inventory has lowered to 3.06 months after seeing a 40% increase in sales year over year, and a decline in inventory by 20%.  This big push in December brought sales just under -1% less transactions ytd than 2019. The market conditions are shaping up for more competitive conditions in 2021. 
Airdrie hit a new record for the number of transactions in the month of December!  With inventory continuing to decline combined with record sales, it continues to lower the months of supply on the market.  With teh bulk of the sales activity in the $300,000 to $500,000 price range, it is proving to be an ideal move up market.

-Steve Phillips, CIR Realty

January 2021: sales activity signals strong start to the year

January sales were the highest they have been for the month since 2014, as housing market momentum from the end of 2020 carried over into the start of 2021.

Sales activity improved across all product types and across all price ranges.

“Discount lending rates are exceptionally low, which is likely attracting all types of buyers back into the market,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“New listings in the market were also slightly higher than what was available over the past two months, which is providing more options to purchasers.”

“DISCOUNT LENDING RATES ARE EXCEPTIONALLY LOW, WHICH IS LIKELY ATTRACTING ALL TYPES OF BUYERS BACK INTO THE MARKET.” – ANN-MARIE LURIE, CREB® CHIEF ECONOMIST

January’s new listings were 2,246 relative to the 1,208 sales in the market, causing inventories to edge up over December levels. These types of movements are typical for January, but 2021 is starting the year with 4,035 units in inventory. This is far lower than the past six years.

Benchmark prices remained at levels relatively consistent with prices recorded at the end of 2020, but they reflect a year-over-year gain just below two per cent.

Average and median prices recorded higher year-over-year gains, likely due to larger gains in sales in the higher end of the market. Those segments do not have the same inventory constraints as  lower-priced product.

Detached

January sales activity improved across most prices ranges. However, limited inventories for homes priced below $500,000 ensured conditions in those segments remained firmly in sellers’ market territory. This likely prevented stronger sales improvements in this portion of the market.

However, with better supply options at the upper end of the market, sales activity improved.

The citywide months of supply was just over two months, a significant drop from last January where levels were nearly five months. The tighter conditions in this segment supported further gains in prices, which currently sit nearly three per cent above last year’s levels.

Year-over-year price gains range significantly throughout the districts of the city. The largest gains occurred in the North and South East districts. Prices remained relatively unchanged over the previous year in the City Centre and West districts.

Semi-Detached

January sales activity rose over last year’s levels due to gains across most districts. The West end district continues to see slower activity than the previous year.

New listings improved from December levels. This is causing some monthly gains in inventories, but inventory remains well below levels seen last year and the months of supply remained below three months.

Price activity did vary depending on location. Year over year, prices remain over one per cent higher than last year’s levels thanks to strong gains in the North and South East districts. However, persistently high levels of inventory compared to sales contributed to the significant price decline occurring in the West district.

Row

Thanks to gains across nearly every district, sales activity improved compared to the previous year. Unlike the detached and semi-detached sectors, row new listings trended up relative to last month and levels recorded last year.

The rise did result in some monthly gains in inventory levels and caused the months of supply to rise to nearly five months. This is not entirely unusual activity for January. The months of supply remains well below last year’s levels at nearly seven months.

Citywide row pricing remained relatively stable compared to last year and last month. However, there was significant variation depending on location. Year-over-year price gains exceeded four per cent in the City Centre, West and East districts.  Meanwhile, prices eased by over three per cent in the North and South East districts.

Apartment Condominium

For the third month in a row, apartment condominium sales rose above levels recorded in the previous year. January levels are the best we have seen since 2014. While new listings have eased compared to last year, they recorded a significant jump over December levels, keeping inventories elevated relative to sales activity.

While prices remain well below previous highs, there were some districts that recorded year-over-year gains. The strongest gains occurred in the North East, East and South districts. However, prices continue to fall in the City Centre, West and South East districts.

Airdrie

Sales activity stayed strong in January. With 103 sales, this was the best January since 2007. New listings improved compared to last month, resulting in some monthly gains in inventory levels. However, the months of supply has remained relatively tight.

With conditions continuing to favour the seller, benchmark prices trended up relative to last month. At $349,100, benchmark prices are over five per cent higher than levels recorded last January. The strongest year-over-year price gains occurred in the detached and semi-detached sectors.

Cochrane

Cochrane sales improved from last January’s levels, but we also saw a notable rise in new listings. This caused the sales-to-new-listings ratio to ease to 63 per cent.

This is a significant improvement over last month, which saw sales levels exceed the level of new listings in the market. Overall, conditions remain relatively tight, with the months of supply staying below three months.

Benchmark prices recorded year-over-year gains across all property types. Overall, benchmark prices remained over four per cent higher than last January’s levels.

Okotoks

After several months of relatively weak new listings, January saw some pickup in new listings relative to the last quarter of 2020.

Sales remained relatively consistent with last year’s levels, causing the months of supply to trend up to three months. This is higher than the extremely tight levels seen at the end of 2020, but it is still significantly lower than the six-plus months recorded in January of last year.

Benchmark prices remained stable compared to last month, but they are over three per cent higher than last January. The gains were driven by the detached sector, as prices continue to ease in the semi-detached, row and apartment sectors.

-CREB NOW