February sales activity remains low
by CREB on March 02, 2015
Year-over-year new listings growth eased from 37 per cent last month to nine per cent in February. However, as sales activity remained below long term averages for the month, Calgary inventory levels rose to 5,474 units in February.
“While housing supply levels continue to be higher than we have seen in this market for some time, they remain below February 2008 record highs of nearly 7,000 units,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “If the pace of growth in new listings continues to ease, this could place some downward pressure on the supply growth in the resale market.”
After the first two months of the year, there have been 6,236 new listings come onto the Calgary market. However, the new listings gains have varied depending on price range and segment. Detached homes have continued to see a decline in new listings in the under $400,000 segment, while both the apartment and the attached product have recorded listing growth in the over $300,000 price range.
“It’s really important for consumers to consider what segment of the market they are buying or selling in when they make any real estate decisions,” said CREB® president Corinne Lyall. “The inventory, demand and price movement will vary based on the community, price range and product type.”
City of Calgary sales totaled 1,217 in February, a 34 per cent decline over the previous year’s activity. While sales fell across all product types, the rate of decline was higher in the apartment and attached sectors of the city.
"Everyone has different reasons for making a move and so it’s difficult to predict how buyers will react to this market,” said Lyall. “Buyers who have been waiting for more inventory to come on the market may find what they are looking for today. If they are in a position to make a buying decision, they certainly can take advantage of the lower interest rates.”
Months of inventory remain elevated at 4.5 months due to supply gains relative to slower sales in February. This placed downward pressure on pricing over the past month.
Unadjusted detached benchmark prices totaled 516,000 in February, a year-over-year increase of six per cent, but a 0.5 per cent fall over January figures.
Meanwhile, attached and apartment benchmark prices totaled 354,600 and 296,000 respectively. Both represented a decline over previous month’s levels.
The variation in price is more extreme when considering the average price. In February the average price rose by 0.3 percent relative to January, but fell by 4.2 per cent compared to last year. This does not come as a surprise given how the composition of the sales influences the change. Benchmark prices provided changes over time on similar properties, providing a clearer indication of pricing trends.
“Expectations vary significantly when talking about the impact that lower oil prices will have on the housing market,” said Lurie. “This wide range in forecasts is often related to assumptions about how long the cycle will last and the resulting impact to employment and net migration.”
“These differences in expectations will likely persist until there is some firm data to support assumptions about Calgary’s employment levels,” said Lurie.