Calgary home sales hit lows not seen in over 20 years, according to realtor

It's expected Calgary's housing market will continue to contend with more supply than demand.

You have to go back to 1996 to find fewer home sales in the city

Calgary's housing market isn't expected to see much improvement going into 2019. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Calgary's housing market continues to contend with more supply than demand and in 2018 saw the lowest sales numbers in over 20 years, according to a local real estate agent. 

Figures provided by Jim Sparrow with Royal LePage Solutions show the last time home sales dipped below the 16,144 units sold last year was in 1996 when the population was significantly lower and there were fewer dwellings. 

That year saw 15,689 units sold, a jump from 1995, when 11,257 were sold. 

According to a report form the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB), December sales in Calgary dropped 21 per cent from the same month in 2017 with only 794 units resold.

There was a 14 per cent decline in yearly sales from 2017 and a nearly 20 per cent decline from long-term averages.

More than 4,900 units were listed for sale, 30 per cent higher than typical levels for the month, CREB said.

Realtor Emma May said those holding out for a so-called spring market likely won't see the results they're hoping for.

"I actually foresee that we're going to get a lot more inventory coming onto the market here in the spring. But I'm not sure that we've got the buyers to pick that up. So while inventory levels are high I think they're going to just get higher here for a little for a period of time," she said.

CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie said the job market and lending rates have both had an impact.

"We just didn't see the economic growth that was expected in the second half of 2018," she said. "Demand hasn't improved enough to absorb additional supply."

She said there's not going to be a "quick transformation," and it'll take time for conditions to get more stable.

Housing supply is on an upward trend in Calgary, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board. (CREB)

May said December's statistics are in line with what the industry has seen over the past year.

"I don't think we're gonna see significant improvement in the long term, I think this is really just the new normal," she said.

She said realtors will need to make sure sellers are informed that they need to be aggressive in pricing, and have some difficult conversations with clients who may be losing money to make sure they have realistic expectations for what to expect.

"It's really an emotional task to walk people through. This is the reality," she said. "Nobody's happy. And that takes a toll on people."

CREB is set to release their 2019 housing market forecast later this month.

With files from Lucie Edwardson and Drew Anderson


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