The Calgary real estate market continues on a downward spiral in the wake of tanking oil prices and job losses with one realtor reporting sales down by 20 to 30 per cent on pre-owned homes.

Lowell Martens, owner and broker at Re/Max Real Estate Mountain View, says it's a challenging time for the industry right now, especially in higher-end properties.

Lowell Martens, Calgary realtor

Realtor Lowell Martens say sales are down in the high-end real estate sector but remain steady in more affordable homes. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

"When we see some light at the end of the tunnel, we'll be back into this market fairly quickly," Martens said.

"But at the moment we don't see any light."

He says his office has seen sales drop between 20 and 30 per cent "for just about the whole year."

Reasonable demand in some sectors

Martens says more reasonably-priced homes, however, are standing their ground.

"There's a reasonable demand for those and if they show well and are priced reasonably in line with where the market currently is, we find that they sell reasonably well," he said.

A Re/Max Western Canada housing market report says sales of existing properties are expected to drop by four per cent in Calgary in 2016, but others say the situation could be much more gloomy.

10 per cent drop possible

Don Campbell, a senior analyst with the Vancouver-based Real Estate Investment Network, says the worst is yet to come in the Calgary market.

"Our numbers are showing that the average sale price should drop … in that 10 per cent range at least," Campbell predicts for the coming year.

He says supply is beginning to show in prices.

"Those that need to sell are starting to move their price and we haven't seen that for a long time in the Calgary market," Campbell noted.

Invest for the long run

Paul Varella, the associate dean at Mount Royal University's Bissett School of Business, says the current volatility could be a reminder of one of the first rules of investing.

"Anybody who invests in real estate has to be in the game for the long run," Varella said.

He says high-paying oil and gas job losses, thousands of them, are having an impact.

Oil pumping jack

(Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

"I think it's no surprise we saw a vanishing of good quality jobs," Varella said.

"We're getting to a tougher part of this crisis in my mind."

Turn around

Realtor Martens says, with so many variables, the situation could change faster than some might think.

"In six months from now, we could be looking at a totally different market," Martens said.

"And everything we're talking about right now, could be all for naught."