Sales of lower-priced homes give Calgary's real estate market modest boost
'I think we’re roughly about 18% below our longer-term averages'
Calgary's housing market continues to favour buyers as the number of sales remains close to 20 per cent below the 10-year average, according to the latest figures.
Realtor Len T. Wong says home prices are still dropping and he sees signs of optimism, especially among first-time buyers.
"I'm hoping the market is close to bottoming out," he said.
"If you're a buyer, it's a great opportunity; and if you're a seller, you need to be priced right to sell your property. It's not like you can hedge upwards."
According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, the number of sales is up six per cent over August of last year.
CREB's chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie says that's the second month in a row for an increase, but it's still well below the 10-year average.
"I think we're roughly about 18 per cent below our longer-term averages," she said.
The growth was largest for apartment-style and attached properties. Attached sales increased for the sixth consecutive month compared with last year.
"Product priced under $500,000 — those sales have actually increased by over seven per cent on a year-to-date basis," she said.
"Whereas in the over $500,000 market, sales have actually declined by 13 per cent."
Lurie says this is likely a reflection of the fact that employment has grown in lower paying jobs but not in higher salaried sectors.
"On the higher end, there still are some challenges because we haven't seen some of that growth in the higher paying jobs."
Fewer houses are going on the market, which Lurie says will help stabilize prices. The number of new listings in Calgary is down nine per cent.
"Sales activity hasn't exactly picked up to the level that we've seen really pre-recession, by any means. It still is reflecting a slower demand environment. But at least we're starting to see the supply adjustment occurring relative to that demand," she said.
"And that's what's really driving some of these much more balanced conditions."
The citywide benchmark price in August remained comparable to last month at $426,000 — 2.6 per cent lower than last year's levels.