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CREB® commentary: Housing sales slower than typical February; Monthly prices decline for fifth consecutive month
February sales totaled 1,127 units in Calgary, a 6.63 per cent drop over last year and 37 per cent lower than long-term averages for the month.
City wide unadjusted benchmark prices totaled $445,000 in February, a 0.63 per cent decline over January and 3.45 per cent lower than levels recorded last year.
“Slow sales and elevated housing inventory has resulted in further price declines,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “Given the current economic environment, it is no surprise that consumer confidence and housing demand is being impacted.”
Calgary has seen employment fall for eight consecutive months, while unemployment rates have reached levels higher than the previous recession, said Lurie, adding that these conditions are expected to persist over the next several months.
While the number of new listings in Calgary continues to fall, inventory levels have remained elevated at 5,681 units. Overall, market conditions continue to favour the buyer with five months of supply.
“The high volume of inventory that we’re seeing has pushed sellers to be more realistic about their pricing expectations and the amount of time their properties may be on the market,” said CREB® president Cliff Stevenson. “Buyers are less likely to submit an offer if there’s a big gap between the listing price and what they are willing to pay. A solid selling strategy can really make the difference in this market.”
In February, there was a noticeable shift in the share of sales in the apartment and attached sectors. The apartment segment dropped to 15 per cent, while the attached market rose to 24 per cent. Overall, the apartment and attached sectors typically represent 17 and 22 per cent of the market respectively.
“Some of the shifting sales from the apartment to attached sectors are likely related to more options in the lower price range of the attached market,” said Stevenson.
The attached market is the only segment that recorded a year-overyear rise in sales activity. While this is partially related to the extra day in February this year, overall activity remained higher than the February lows recorded in 2009.
Meanwhile, both detached and apartment sales declined over last year’s activity and fell to the lowest February level recorded in over a decade.
The detached market recorded a fall in new listings, which prevented inventory levels from rising to new February highs. In fact, detached inventories remain 32 per cent below peak levels recorded in 2008.
While buyers have lots of choices, the detached market continues to show varying trends based on price range. Most notably, there is some evidence of imbalance starting to impact the $500,000 – $599,999 range of the market.
The detached benchmark price totaled 504,400 in February, a 0.71 per cent decline over the previous month and 3.19 per cent below February 2015 levels