Calgary's healthy housing market
Will van ‘t Veld
Economist, ATB Financial
September 6, 2012
After a spring of defying the negative national housing market sentiment, the Calgary market cooled a bit in August. But, Alberta’s largest city remains one the nation’s most solid real estate markets. Back in February, the inventory-to-sales ratio in Calgary began to dip, as sales increased faster than new listings, indicating the market had quickly dipped into sellers’ territory. Buyers have since reversed that trend slightly, with the Calgary Real Estate Board reporting that monthly
sales in August dipped 11.6 per cent month-over-month.The swing in housing market activity can be seen in average residential price changes. That average residential price nudged down to $417,000 in August, a 2.2 per cent drop from July, which is nonetheless 3.1 per cent higher than a year ago. The MLS also computes a benchmark price, which is less volatile. The benchmark price adjusts for specific features, such as lot size, bedrooms and location. The jump in the MLS benchmark price index through 2012 has been pretty impressive, up 6.5 per cent on a year-over-year basis. Activity in the single family detached home market has been particularly strong over the past year, with the MLS benchmark index jumping 7.8 per cent yearover-year in August. This is the main reason the overall residential home price index has increased so noticeably, as detached homes make up the vast majority of residential sales.
For their part, condo and town home prices have been plodding along, with the benchmark price increasing 3.3 and 2.6 per cent, respectively, on an annual basis.