Calgary sets record for home sales in May

Calgary saw nearly 3,000 homes sold in May — a new record — as price gains encouraged more owners to list their homes, the city's real estate board said Tuesday.

The month had 4,562 new listings, up 88.6% from the same month last year

A sign advertising a home listed for sale in Calgary. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

Nearly 3,000 homes sold in Calgary last month — a new record — as price gains encouraged more owners to list their homes, the city's real estate board said Tuesday.

The Calgary Real Estate Board said 2,989 homes were sold in May, up 177.3 per cent from the previous year when the onset of the pandemic had led to a large decline in real estate activity.

There were also 4,562 new listings, up 88.6 per cent from the same month last year. 

"In Calgary, this is really more of a recovery story in terms of prices and, we are just starting to get there on a citywide basis," CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie said.

"As these prices have been moving up and we have seller market conditions, that is really motivating some more people to potentially list their homes on the market right now."

Homes above $600K represent larger share of sales

The unadjusted benchmark price was $455,200 last month, one per cent higher from the previous month and 11 per cent higher than this time last year. CREB also said homes priced above $600,000 represented a larger-than-usual share of sales — 26 per cent of all sales, compared with 16 per cent last May. 

Detached homes saw the largest increase, selling for a benchmark of $533,300, up 12.2 per cent, while apartments and condos saw more modest gains of 4.9 per cent, at $252,600. 

The city's north, northwest and southeast districts have seen detached home prices recover to previous highs, whereas no part of the city has seen condo prices recover. Condo prices remain nearly 16 per cent below 2014 levels. 

Sales also hit record highs in Airdrie, Cochrane and Okotoks last month. CREB said those neighbouring cities to Calgary are all experiencing sellers' markets — with varying low levels of new listings in contrast with high demand. 

"Some of the draw to some of those areas is they tend to be, depending on the location, more affordable than what you can get in Calgary," said Lurie.

"But also they tend to offer potentially more space and lot size," which Lurie said is at a premium because of the pandemic's limiting affect on people's mobility.

The unadjusted benchmark price rose three per cent from April to $451,700 in Cochrane, and rose to $483,400 in Okotoks and $379,000 in Airdrie.

Canada's new stress test for mortgages went into effect Tuesday, which raises the minimum financial bar that those applying for a home loan must meet. 

Lurie said she doesn't expect those rules to have a significant impact on housing demand growth at this point, in part due to low lending rates, but said it could impact which homes people decide to buy.

With files from Dave Gilson and the Canadian Press