Calgary

Buyers can 'cherry-pick' houses in Calgary's sluggish market, realtor says

A weaker economy, lower purchasing power, and fewer buyers than what would keep the market level are all contributing to a less-than-robust spring market.

Realter Doug Hayden says slow spring market ‘not the end of the world'

Doug Hayden is a realtor at eXp Realty in Calgary, Alta. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Spring is typically the busiest time of the year in the housing market, in terms of sales volume and price increases, but so far that's not the case in Calgary.

"You could say it's slow to start," said Doug Hayden, a realtor at eXp Realty.   

"I think what we're going to see for the rest of the year is — it's not going to be a good year for Calgary. Not in terms of home sales."

A weaker economy, lower purchasing power, and fewer buyers than what would keep the market level are all contributing to a less-than-robust spring market.

But if you are a buyer, it's prime time to make a purchase.

"In terms of where the market's going, it's not going to get any better for buyers," Hayden said. "They can cherry-pick right now what they want."

If you're a buyer, it's a good time to buy a home in Calgary. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Those looking to sell their homes right now have to be very competitive, Hayden said.

He said Calgary's housing market has been deteriorating since 2014, due to the economy, and as mortgage stress tests drive down the affordability index, with the weakest spot in Calgary being the mid to move-up market.

"There's just so much inventory in that area, just in terms of what is available," Hayden said.

"We'd like to see better, but it's not the end of the world."  

Though likely not in 2019, Hayden expects the market to pick back up, on the backs of renters who don't want to rent anymore.

"The good news is once the starter home market starts to connect, and you see that go up and you start to see sales increase, the people that are selling those starter homes now can look at the move-up market."

Speaking of renting

"The rental market isn't hot by any means, but the [it] seems to have hit a plateau and it's solid," Hayden said.

That means rental increases on certain properties. For Hayden, one of the more encouraging spots of the housing market are renters who are looking to buy homes.

"I think the fence-sitting may be over. The reality is that, in terms of house prices, I don't think house prices you can say are going down much further."

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