January 2009 – Calgary Real Estate Market in Review

With 550 sales in metro-Calgary, sales increased 22% over last month, but still 49% less than last January when 1083 homes changed hands.  SFH average price was $413,049 (9% down year-over-year) while the median was $374,700 (down 8.6% YoY)

Condo sales increased 9.8% from last month to 225 sales, but 50% off last January’s level when there were 454 sales.  The average sale price of metro-Calgary condo was $270,940, 1.4% down from last month, and 13% down YoY.  The median price of a condo in January 2009 was $243,000 down 4.3% from December 2008 when the median was $254,000 and down 16% from January 2008 when the median price was $290,000.


Total MLS absorption rate switched gears as increased sales stopped the Absorption Rate from continuing to increase.


Jan 2009
Metro-Calgary SFH Inventory Absorption Rate:  7.3 months    (Jan 2008:  3.7 months, Dec 2008: 8.6 months)
Metro-Calgary Condo Iventory Absorption Rate: 8.5 months   (Jan 2008:  4.2 months, Dec 2008: 9.1 months)

You’ll notice how the month-end inventory for January this year and last were almost exact (4040 VS 3997 for SFH, and 1923 VS 1926) even though new listings were down over 30%.  The other major difference being, of course, the amount of sales and $ volume.



Airdrie sold 33 SFH’s,  Averaging $353,009 with a median price of $355,000.   Month-end inventory was 252, giving Airdrie a 7.6 Month Inventory Absorption Rate.

9 condos sold, leaving a month-end inventory was 60.  (6.7 months absorption)   Average Price: $227,100 Median: $215,000.  (more detailed Airdrie statistics)


Chestermere recorded 5 SFH sales in the month of January, with a month-end inventory of  120.  That brings the Inventory Absorption Rate to 24 months.

(Average price: $467,180  Median price: $433,900)

15 condos are listed but there were no sales in January.  (more detailed Chestermere statistics)

Source for all statistics is CREB’s MLS Database.   For official statistics, please visit  WWW.CREB.COM

13 responses to “January 2009 – Calgary Real Estate Market in Review

  1. Hi Mike
    Thanks for the summary. Sales volume is truly dismal though you would not know it if you read articles from some journalists. When if ever do you think the mainstream media that act as shills for the CREB are going to start being honest?

    My second question for you is related to the mindset of the actual buyers. As a potential buyer in 2009-10 I see my position strengthening the more I wait. While I would like to own a better place than my rental townhouse, I would prefer to buy at prices $100k less than today, and I think that the recession could get worse driving prices lower soon. Do the 550 buyers in January feel so desperate to buy that they overlook the basic facts of the market that you publish daily? Any insight would be appreciated.

  2. One Of A Kind

    Mike the latest results don’t look all to great. However as a buyer in waiting , I am getting to nervous to go into a mortgage now and am kinda glad I havn’t. Are sellers getting nervous ? I could still be edged to buying if I knew that sellers are getting more realistic on there listing prices . The Bank I have a approval with is telling me to take my time and they only see prices heading downward.

    Being a Buyer now is not very exciting as we thought it would be in fact its down right stressful!

    Mike says: I don’t think too many sellers are nervous yet. Saviour Spring is almost here, remember? 🙂 And you might even see prices increasing in the spring, almost because it’s expected to. It’s whether or not sales and prices remain escalated after the spring rush that will tell us the direction Calgary is really headed.

    I believe it’s an issue of affordability, and prices can’t remain at these current highs for long. In Feb 9ths issue of Macleans, in an article entitled, “The Vanishing Middle Ground” it states that “over the past 25 years, middle-class incomes have not grown at all. In 1980, the median family income was $58,000. In 2006, over a quarter of a century later, that number had actually dropped to $57,700. (Both figures are expressed in 2005 dollars to remove the effects of inflation)”

    The article goes on to say how during the same time, while median incomes have stagnated, the wealthy (or those in the top 10%of the income distribution) had incomes that increased by 34% during 1992 and 2004.

    What this suggests is that the luxury real estate market will continue, for the most part (Update: see February 4 comment below). However, average/median house prices have to drop in order for the middle-class to be able to afford entry into the market since there is a major disconnect between incomes and the rising price of houses these past several years.

  3. I’m also a potential buyer and the fact is…its very hard to be patient. Especially when all you hear is “its a great time to buy”. If you want a better house then look in the rental market…there are some real deals out there for rent and its only going to get better. Take the time to read this article it might make you feel better…click here to read

    Mike says: CJ – I just changed the link into a clickable one for you. And it is “a great time to buy” when you compare it to last year or the year before…But maybe there will be an even greater time to buy by waiting? You have to read all you can and decide for yourself, as there are differing viewpoints on the matter.

  4. Rusty, I believe you wouldn’t like today’s article in the paper (I sure found it misleading) where it states that,

    “The Calgary Real Estate Board said yesterday that in January, the average MLS price in that category totalled $414,466, which is less than 1% lower than the price the same home would have fetched in December…December usually is a month of slow sales as people focus on Christmas. Inclement weather and poor driving conditions had further driven sales below normal levels.” – Home Prices Remain Stable, February 3, 2009.

    On the other hand, you have people saying all the sensationalized doom and gloom the newspapers print are turning off potential buyers.

    With regards to your second question – every buyer’s situation is different. Some have goals of buying when they have 20% down to avoid CMHC insurance premiums. Others decide to buy when the costs of home ownership is similar to what they’re renting. Some people are planning on staying in their home long term and want that security. Every buyer has a different reason for buying.

  5. I’m a little confused:

    -Calgary Home Prices Remain Stable
    -Calgary Housing Market Takes Nosedive

    Same newspaper. Same day. Same reporter.

  6. binky chuckles

    Hi Mike, I have been reading this blog with interest for some time. When looking at house prices, what helps me make sense of this madness is the price to income minus loose credit lending argument. In the absence of increased wages, radically decreased lending will have devastating impact on the housing market. This is a pretty simple problem now that the mania driven by cheap credit has come to a screetching halt.

    Thank you for your public service here on this site. I mention your name to others often and point them to your website. When reality does its hard landing, I will look you up.

    P.s. Do you feel pretty isolated from others in your field or are there plenty of realtors that share your views?

    Mike says: Hello “Binky” – thanks for your comments 🙂 I’m not sure how many realtors share the same outlook other than the ones I regularly speak with…

  7. Mike (authentic)

    “You’ll notice how the month-end inventory for January this year and last were almost exact (4040 VS 3997 for SFH, and 1923 VS 1926) even though new listings were down over 30%. ”

    Great write up Mike. I appreciate your frankness in the matter.

    30% down on new listings (over Jan 08?), so if we are neck-and-neck for actives then we carried over a lot of extra unsold inventory from 08 to 09 (that would have normally disapeared). I would assume those 30% more listings are already there is that is the case?

    For prices, I think we live in a “food chain” of RE much like anything else. If the lowest prices condos drop in value then it will effect everything up to the $20m house and the other way around. Price pressue on the low end will cause the prices to fall on the higher end I believe. What do you think?

    We are buyers in waiting as well, sold in March 08. If we bought in March 08, there is no doubt we would have lost more than we make in a year.


  8. Mike, there are several reasons why new listings could be down. Like you suggested, they may have just carried over from last year. Another possibility: everytime a listing expires, and even if it’s listed again the next day with the same agent, it counts toward the New Listings number. Since houses are taking longer to sell, expiry dates are probably extended, which results in fewer relists, and thus, fewer “new listings.”

    Some sellers have opted to rent out their property, as is mentioned in todays Herald (starts about half-way down)

    With sales down by approx 50% over last year, and still ending up with the same month-end inventory levels…does that mean we haven’t seen the actual new listings surge yet, or with the market the way it is, are sellers holding off?

    Low-end and high-end housing mostly face the same pressures such as supply and demand and consumer confidence.

    For example, if you take a look at January’s or Decembers CREB stat packages you’ll notice that acreage sales have dropped significantly, with fewer sold in the million-plus range than previously.

    As well, the number of houses valued over $1 million dropped by 295 according to 2009 city property assessments to 7,967 (which is still 10 times more than there were in 2005)

    “In the city assessor’s analysis, properties now valued above $800,000 have generally held their value better than homes below that mark, even though the million-plus homes fell this year by the same four per cent as the overall housing stock.” (Source)

  9. If you are receiving an “expired” message on the Foreclosure list, here’s the latest updates:

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3

  10. A new Property Purchase Tax in the works?

    February 3, 2009 – Calgary Herald

    February 5, 2009 – Calgary Sun

    Looking eastward to Toronto, this possibility isn’t good news:

    “Amid a sinking Toronto real-estate market, Mayor David Miller’s controversial new land-transfer tax is to blame for a significant chunk of falling sales and house prices, a study released by the C.D. Howe Institute today concludes.” Globe & Mail, Dec 2008

  11. Mike (authentic)

    A new Property Purchase Tax in the works?

    “No percentage is given but the examples the city uses hover around 1%. Do the math. On a $400,000 home, that’s $4,000. The city bigwigs go as high as 1.5% in their report. On a $400,000 home, that’s $6,000. The report admits the obvious. ”

    That would really kill home prices further. What are they in power thinking? Yes, I can see why in Toronto (and Vancouver with their version) the Property Purchase Tax kills prices. Forget investing (this tax makes it much worse to by RE for investing) but for regular families who can’t afford to be burdened by this extra expense.

    This would actually kill the “for more affordable housing” line as it would hurt those who can hardly afford it now without gov’t help.


  12. One Of A Kind

    New Tax would really bite into things (wheres George Bush when we need him) NO NEW TAXES!

    I think the city really has to look at what is really needed and what we can do without during this period! However I do respect that Calgary is still growing and with the total lack of investment of our Government during the Klein years has caught up with us.

    Back to housing even though I suspect its not a good time to buy , I still believe that things will recover in the future. Was on another Blog this morning and was totally amazed at some with the doom and gloom take on things. My question is when do people see a turn around ? There is a lot of demand coming when people start living again and not fearful or living in Fear!

  13. Weekly Update

    SFH Sales February 1-7th
    2009: 183
    2008: 280
    2007: 489
    2006: 444
    2005: 301

    Condo Sales February 1-7th
    2009: 80
    2008: 126
    2007: 231
    2006: 188
    2005: 114

    Pending Sales

    Pending: 231
    LP Average: $428,075
    LP Median: $389,900

    Pending: 116
    LP Average: $277,167
    LP Median: $264,850

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