Calgary Flood 2013 - As a Realtor working with Buyers over the years I’ve come to realize that privacy is of the utmost importance when Buyers are shopping for homes. They love the idea of having plenty of trees in the back yard, lattice up on the decks and a garage they can drive their car into with a remote that they can close before stepping out of the car. Who really wants to have a neighbourly conversation with a grumbling stomach about the weather after a long day at work anyways? Our homes have become our castles and if the city would allow us to build a moat around our property line I’m sure some Buyers would hire the services of a backhoe on the day of possession. I must admit that I’m pretty guilty of this behavior as well after realizing my neighbour across the street speaks with a British accent (We’ve been neighbours for over three years, but what took HIM so long to say hello?). Let’s face it, we live in a world where the Block Parent signs have disappeared and none of us really have a neighbour named “Wilson” that we can confide in on the other side of the fence in our back yard. However, over the past week in Calgary and the surrounding towns I was absolutely floored by how neighbours tore down those walls, unlocked the doors and updated their Facebook status with “We’ll leave the light on for you” like a Motel 6 advertising campaign. Neighbours owning pickup trucks were seen peeling their bumper stickers that read “Yes, this is my truck. No, you can’t borrow it” and replacing them with “Here to help!” We witnessed farmers ditching their fields and picking up stranded neighbours with their combines and in return helicopters were seen herding cattle to higher ground (which I think should become an event at this year’s Calgary Stampede, can you imagine?). What really impresses me is that nearly 100,000 Calgarians were evacuated and displaced, but only roughly 1,500 showed up to the number of emergency shelters across the city. In a city where it’s sometimes impossible to find a born and raised Calgarian (with no shortage of Leafs fans) almost everyone had somewhere to go thanks to the kindness of friends and strangers. We stood centre stage with the world watching (minus Anderson Cooper) and we passed with an A+! Our report card would simply say “Likes to help others”. Thanks Calgary for staying classy, standing tall and keeping the faith! Now, let’s “Cowboy Up”, it’s time for Stampede!
Calgary, Sept. 4, 2012 – Following several months of higher than expected sales growth, Calgary residential sales in August totaled 1,725 units, a 10-per-cent increase over last year.
“While the sales grow remains strong, it is slower than previous five months in part due to the lack of new listings in the City’s single family market,” said Bob Jablonski, CREB® President. “With fewer products to choose from, many consumers are holding off on transacting or turning to surrounding towns, the new home market and condominiums.”
New listings within the City of Calgary total 2,585 units in August, down 13 per cent from one year ago and down more than four per cent on a year-to-date basis. Meanwhile, new listings in the surrounding towns have improved by nearly 10 per cent after the first eight months of this year.
“Improving choice, affordable prices, combined with lifestyle factors and the lack of choice in the single family market within city limits, have driven sales growth in towns surrounding the city,” said Jabslonski. “In general, the area has witnessed sales activity that is comparable to peak sales activity.”
Single family sales totaled 1,169 in August 2012, six per cent above levels recorded in 2011. Meanwhile, new listings declined by 14 per cent on a year-over-year basis over the same time frame. This year, demand has far outpaced new additions to supply in the single-family market, causing a significant depletion of standing inventories. However, the recent decline in sales growth helped ease the pressure on the market, as months of supply have risen to levels more consistent with balanced territory.
While sales growth activity did cool, the upward price pressure on single family homes will not likely ease until the fall. As of August, the benchmark price for a single family home was $432,600, an eight-per-cent increase over August 2011 levels. The increase may seem significant, but the prices have leveled off compared to the previous month and remain nearly $20,000 below peak levels recorded in July 2007.
August sales in both condominium apartment and townhouse units recorded year-over-year growth that outpaced the single family market. Year-to-date apartment sales have improved by nearly 10 per cent over 2011, while the level of new listings remained at levels similar to last year. The improvement in sales relative to new listings has helped reduce the elevated inventory levels, keeping this market in balanced territory.
The benchmark price of a condominium apartment for the month of August was $248,700, a 3.6-per-cent increase over the previous year. Meanwhile townhouse style condominiums had a monthly benchmark price of $278,200, only a 2.5-per-cent increase. While the upward momentum is a signal of continued recovery in the condominium market, the benchmark price for condominiums remains nearly 16 per cent below peak levels.
“Some continue to foresee a scenario where price declines are looming in the local housing market, especially given national trends,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® Chief Economist. “There is no question economic concerns can threaten our housing recovery. However, to date Calgary housing market consumers are exhibiting confidence evidenced through the pick-up in sales activity across all housing types.
“The rapid sales growth caused supply levels to drop, particularly in the single family market, resulting in price gains. While we anticipate recent movements in the single family resale market will take some pressure off the higher-than-expected price growth, another city wide price correction is not expected given current economic growth expectations combined with one of the best affordability climates in the country."