Calgary

Calgary housing market looks to thaw a little in spring

Real estate in Calgary has been slow for a while now, but sales in the $300,000-to-$400,000 range are brisk. One Calgary realtor talks about why spring brings out high hopes in buyers and sellers.

Sluggish market picks up slightly in early days of season, says realtor

A house for sale in Calgary. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

Spring is the season for watching playoffs, digging up gardens and — for hopeful Calgary realtors — helping clients buy and sell homes, despite the slow market.

"It's been sluggish the last couple years," realtor Rick Pollick said Tuesday on the Calgary Eyeopener.

He acknowledged the headwinds while also insisting that spring is nevertheless bringing newfound momentum to the city's sluggish housing market.

"Last month was flat — maybe a slight improvement — but it looks like the first two weeks in April, the activity is a little stronger with sales," he said.

According to the most recent data from Teranet-National Bank, prices for single-family homes in Calgary declined for the ninth month in a row in March.

Prices for the month were 2.8 per cent lower than a year earlier and down seven per cent from their peak in 2014.

Spring usually brings more listings

Pollick said spring is typically when listings spurt, which would further add to the buyer's market that's already out there.

"It's historically that time of year where you're going to see a surge of listings, which makes it great for a lot of people — particularly the buyers," he said.

He also expects recent declines in mortgage rates to move sales along.

"The five-year fixed mortgage is down a little more than half a point," he said. "So that will increase their buying power. But also there's going to be a lot of homes to see."

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

The Calgary market has an oversupply of housing, Pollick said, which he suggested will be resolved by sellers adjusting  their asking prices to reflect what buyers are actually willing to pay.

"You've really got to be realistic as a seller," he said.

He also advised de-cluttering your home, completing necessary repairs and maybe even planting a garden if you're serious about attracting a buyer.

"You've got to spend a lot of time preparing your home," he said.

"You've only got one opportunity to make a good first impression. And you want to make sure that when the buyers come through, they see the strength of your home. That's a real key here."

Pollick added that there are pockets of the market and certain price ranges — mainly in the $300,000 to $400,000 range — where demand is relatively brisk, even if prices remain stagnant.


— With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

About the Author

Stephen Hunt

Digital Writer

Stephen Hunt is a digital writer at the CBC in Calgary. Email: stephen.hunt@cbc.ca

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