Home sales and prices to fall even further in 2016, Calgary Real Estate Board projects

Fewer homes will sell this year than last and they will sell for less money, the Calgary Real Estate Board predicts in its latest annual outlook, released today.

Annual outlook foresees weak demand, increase in supply, and no change in economic situation

Home sales are expected to be even slower in 2016 than 2015, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

Fewer homes will sell this year than last and they will sell for less money, the Calgary Real Estate Board predicts in its latest annual outlook, released Wednesday.

"This is a bona fide buyer's market and I don't see that changing in this calendar year," CREB president Cliff Stevenson told reporters.

The real-estate board foresees no change on the horizon for the local economy and expects demand for housing in 2016 to be weak.

Total sales activity is projected to fall to 18,416 units, down 2.2 per cent from the already low mark set in 2015.

Home sales in Calgary last year plunged 26.3 per cent from 2014.

CREB also predicts price declines in 2016 compared to last year, with its annualized benchmark price expected to fall by 3.44 per cent to $438,652.

"As we move into the second year of this environment, we expect to see additional housing supply pressure and further price declines," CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie said in a release.

"Weakness in the energy sector is overshadowing all aspects of our economy and with more people looking for work and fewer opportunities, we could see some families making adjustments to their housing situation."

This graph breaks down benchmark home prices and year-over-year price change by type of housing unit. At right is the forecast for 2016. (Calgary Real Estate Board)

The steepest price declines are expected in higher-density units, which CREB said is related to a near record level of multi-family projects under construction and due to come on the market in 2016.

"As these units are completed, there will be more product available for a smaller pool of buyers," the board stated.

Royal LePage outlook

Calgary is expected to have the weakest real estate market of all major Canadian cities this year, according to another outlook released Wednesday from Royal LePage.

The real estate firm projects a year-over-year decrease of 3 per cent in the aggregate price of a home in the Calgary region in 2016 and a 2 per cent decrease in the Edmonton region.

Given the recent drop in oil prices, home prices in Canada's "energy-centric regions" were "more resilient than most onlookers had expected" in 2015, according to Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper.

But, he added, that's unlikely to continue indefinitely.

"Consumers, reluctant to sell their homes at what they perceived to be a discount to their true value, simply withdrew from the market, resulting in steady house prices and a drop in unit sales volume," Soper said in a release.

"In the coming year we expect to see the delayed impacts of the slowing economy and rising unemployment on the regions' housing stock, with moderate declines in home values."

Every other major city in Canada, by contrast, is expected to see price increases in 2016, according to Royal LePage, with an average price gain of 4.1 per cent across the country's largest real estate markets.


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