According to the Calgary Regional Housing Market Statistics issued by the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB), Alberta has a positive outlook when it comes to the state of the housing market. Migration brought by the growing oil and gas sector will boost consumer spending and improve employment and family income, which are crucial to a strong housing market.
In January 2011, Calgary single family home sales rose in comparison with the December 2010 numbers and strengthened, even on a year-over-year basis, by 4 per cent. There were 791 single family homes sold in January 2011 — a jump from the 734 sales in December 2010, which marked an 8 per cent increase. Condominiums sold worse than the year before in January 2011, with a 20 per cent decline. Condo sales also dropped compared to the month before, from 320 in December 2010 to 302 in January 2011.
“More affordable housing will continue to attract home-buyers to the inner-city, particularly as employment in the city of Calgary continues to improve,” says Sano Stante, CREB’s president. “Single family homes in the city are currently driving this gradual recovery, and we are seeing an uptick in the sale of homes below the $350,000 price point. This may suggest more first-time home-buyers are entering the market, providing the fuel needed for a sustained housing recovery.”
Stante predicts a gradual recovery in 2011 because there is a large selection of affordable housing on the market, with lending conditions remaining very favourable as interest rates stay low. He also forecasts a slower-paced first quarter of 2011 laying the foundations for a more balanced market later on.
The average price of a Calgary single family home was $454,163 in January 2011, growing modestly by 3 per cent compared both to the previous month and January 2010. Condos sold for an average of $288,291 in January 2011, which is a 2 per cent rise from both December 2011 and January 2010. In 2010, the average prices hit their peak in June, then declined while oscillating around the trend line. The median price of a family house in January 2011 was $390,000, rising from the December 2010 median price of $389,000, but decreasing from the number recorded a year ago. The median price of a Calgary condominium in January was $255,000, decreasing by 1 per cent from the month before and dropping 4 per cent year-over-year.
January is traditionally a strong listings month, so an increase by 170 per cent in the January 2011 single family listings (1965 listings) compared to the December 2010 number (728 listings) likely won’t raise an eyebrow. On a year-over-year basis, the CREB’s statistics recorded an 8 per cent increase in the quantity of single family home listings in January 2011, which gives hope for a sustainable upward trend. New condo listings were at the level of 870 in January 2011, compared to the 361 new condo listings in December 2010 (a 140 per cent rise) and down 9 per cent compared with January 2010, which had as many as 951 new condominiums listed in the Multiple Listing Service.