Calgary home sales plummet since last August
But average price of a Calgary home only dipped 2%
Home sales in Calgary dropped by 27 per cent last month compared to a year ago, according to the latest numbers from the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB).
Last August saw 2,250 homes change hands in Calgary compared to 1,644 this year.
Veteran Calgary real estate agent Gary Cronin says he's not surprised by the numbers.
"In the last 60 days in particular it was a real quiet Calgary resale market, with transactions down about 30 per cent and starting to see some price pressure, especially in the higher categories," he said.
The average price of a home in Calgary has also dipped from about $475,000 last year to about $466,000 this year — or by two per cent, CREB says.
Weak economy to continue trend
CREB's chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie says the real estate market in Calgary is not expected to improve anytime soon because of weak energy prices and the local job market.
"There should be some further downward pressure on the housing market. Ultimately the amount of pressure there'll be on prices will depend when the energy sector does recover," she said.
Lurie says the current real estate dip may last longer than previous lulls, but she says the numbers were worse in 2009.
Homes priced under $500,000 are still selling relatively well. Lurie says it's the luxury homes and apartments that are suffering.
New listings in the $600,000-plus category are on the rise, but sales are down from last year. CREB says that price range represented about 18 per cent of sales compared with 20 per cent last year.
"With more options in the higher-end of the market, sellers will need to consider their competition as well as their goals regarding a sell date," said CREB president Corinne Lyall in a release.
"This will influence the pricing strategy they agree upon with their real estate professional."
Justin Bobier, with Crystal Creek Homes, says his company's luxury home sales are down 50 per cent this year. He says a lot of buyers are playing the waiting game.
"Reality is we're not going to see a price drop in new home sales this year," he said.
Bobier says a lot of building materials come from the U.S., which cost more now that the loonie is worth less.
"So it really puts a lot of pressures on our Calgary suppliers to maintain prices — they can't," he said.
Impact of low loonie
Lurie doesn't expect the low dollar, and drop in prices, to attract foreign investors as the Calgary market hasn't traditionally been driven by international buyers.
Calgary realtor Marc Doll says prices are holding steady in the resale market. He says something has changed since the last financial crash.
"Calgary as a city is a place where people call home instead of a place where people came to make money."
Doll says while sales are down, so too are the listings — meaning homeowners are also willing to wait.